New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

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New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

The Soapbox: Thousands march in Argentina, temporary border controls in Germany, century-old waiters’ race in France

The Soapbox is a weekly column by WSN covering major news developments at NYU’s campuses and study away sites abroad. Global consciousness for a global university.
Max Van Hosen
The Soapbox is a weekly news column rounding up stories worth reading for a global university. (Illustration by Max Van Hosen)

In Argentina, protesters take to the streets on anniversary of 1976 military coup

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in central Buenos Aires for the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice, an annual public observance on March 24 that honors the victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

Human rights organizations estimate that 30,000 people were tortured, murdered and kidnapped during the military dictatorship. On Sunday, Argentine president Javier Milei posted a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, that cast doubt on the figure and instead focused on victims of attacks by a left-wing group prior to the military dictatorship.

Moreover, Victoria Villarruel, Milei’s vice president, has defended military officers. Before becoming vice president, she paid prison visits to military junta leader Jorge Rafael Videla and her uncle, Ernesto Guillermo Villarruel, who has been accused of committing crimes against humanity, according to the Associated Press.

Some of the 30,000 victims of the military dictatorship that seized power after the 1976 coup were pregnant women. As a result, around 500 newborns were taken from their parents while in captivity, including now 46-year-old Matias Reggiardo, who told the Washington Post that the current right-wing denial of the coup’s significance is unprecedented. 

“This is the first time I’ve seen a government defying the narrative we’ve had for decades,” Reggiardo said. “It’s terrifying to find people in Milei’s government cast doubt on our stories.”

Barron’s reports that since trials for crimes committed during the dictatorship resumed in 2006, following a period of amnesty in the 1990s, 1,176 individuals have been found guilty, 661 are currently incarcerated and legal proceedings for 79 cases are ongoing as of March 2024.

In Germany, government announces border controls for European Championship 

On Tuesday, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the local newspaper, Rheinische Post, that the government plans to implement temporary controls at all its borders during the European Championship soccer tournament taking place this summer.

The controls will remain in effect throughout the duration of the soccer tournament, which is anticipated to draw up to 12 million to public viewing events and 2.7 million fans to stadiums. The tournament’s opening match between Germany and Scotland is scheduled for June 14 in Munich, while the final will be held on July 14 in Berlin, the country’s capital. 

The local newspaper said that Faeser said the measures will protect “against Islamists and other extremists to hooligans and the security of the networks against cyber attacks.” Her comments come just days after a terror attack in Moscow, which U.S. officials have attributed to ISIS-K, a part of the Islamic State active in Iran and Afghanistan

“We will carry out temporary border controls at all German borders during the tournament in order to prevent possible violent criminals from entering the country,” Faeser said. “This is necessary in order to protect this major international event in the best possible way.”

While France and Italy, both of which are geographically near Germany, increased security in the wake of the Moscow attack, a spokesperson for the German Interior Ministry told Deutsche Welle that German security authorities have not made any changes in their security assessment of the terrorism threat in the country.

Germany has established border controls along its eastern and southern borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland. These controls were implemented last year after a 78% surge in first-time asylum requests during the first seven months of 2023, as well as to address “smuggling and limit irregular migration.”

In France, waiters compete in Course des Cafés after a 13-year hiatus

For the first time since 2011, thousands of spectators watched 200 cafe and restaurant waiters race in the Course des Cafés, which takes place on a 1.2-mile loop starting and ending at City Hall in central Paris.

The race, originating in 1914, has been on a 13-year hiatus due to insufficient funding. This year it was revived as part of Paris’ effort to showcase waiters ahead of its first Summer Olympics in 100 years. Official statistics indicate that as of 2023, there were over 15,000 bars, cafes and restaurants in the city.

During the race, contestants carried a tray with a croissant, a glass full of water and an empty coffee cup. They had to complete the loop without running, spilling or carrying the tray with two hands at the same time, all while wearing traditional uniforms.

At the finish line, judges checked the integrity of the contestants’ trays to assess potential time penalties and disqualifications. The majority of racers completed the course in under 20 minutes, according to The New York Times.

Samy Lamrous, from the restaurant La Contrescarpe, set the fastest time of the race, finishing in 13 minutes and 30 seconds, while Pauline Van Wymeersch, from Café Le Petit Pont, won the women’s category with a time of 14 minutes and 12 seconds.

“I love it as much as I hate it. It’s in my skin. I cannot leave it,” Van Wymeersch told the Associated Press. “It’s hard. It’s exhausting. It’s demanding. It’s 12 hours per day. It’s no weekends. It’s no Christmases. [But] it’s part of my DNA. I grew up in a way with a tray in my hand. I have been shaped, in life and in the job, by the bosses who trained me and the customers, all of the people, I have met.”

Contact Krish Dev at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Krish Dev
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.

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