Between the morning and afternoon of this Tuesday, the shouts, the bullfights, the despair and the confusion invaded the most commercial areas of the City.
"Looting. They are looting, keep everything, run. Guarda compa," shouted a lady, noticeably agitated, in the video circulating in the WhatsApp groups of the Once vendors. At the same time, in Flores the cry of alarm was the same and begged the merchants to take refuge from the "looters".
Around 13 p.m., the postcard of the most commercial area of Flores was not the one of every day. The physiognomy of Avellaneda, Nazca, Holguera and Aranguren was similar to that of the 2020 pandemic: all blinds closed or half-opened, prepared for what seemed "imminent" or could happen at any time.
"They say they looted, but nothing happened here. They began to tell us, they sent us messages that they were looting in the Floresta area. The groups began to alert, but we only closed ten minutes and all the paranoia ended," explained Flavia of a place located on Avellaneda Avenue 3024 and added: "They say it started in the Smart Go gallery."
During the tour made by Clarín, the merchants consulted said that it all began in the Smart Go! gallery. Also, other merchants assured that everything started from the WhatsApp groups where chains of messages were sent warning about possible looting in the surroundings.
Police operation in Flores after reports of looting that never occurred. Photo: Federico Lopez Claro
"Spread the word to the other galleries because they say that it may be that at night they can return. So let everyone know, to take care of all of us on Bogotá Street," says the audio that circulated in the groups and said that it was "forwarded several times."
From the gallery that was in the eye of the controversy, the story was different. "It was two minutes of full psychosis. There was no looting. Actually a group of people came from Bogotá Street who ran in shouting that they were looting. We all started pulling out the coat racks and closing the blinds. They were only rumors and the truth is that it is all crap, because in this situation fucking with this, they ruin our sales more, "said Mariela, a merchant of the place.
As she rearranged the mannequins on the outside of the corridor, Micaela Ramos added: "It was the same people who were buying who started screaming. Then out of fear we started to close and even the gallery itself closed. Then the police arrived and told us it was just a false alarm. No colleague ever told us that he was robbed."
"It was a chain of rumors," Micaela Gómez, in charge of the Gallery, managed to summarize. "Someone ran here and said they were looting three blocks away, when I go there they told me that everything was happening here and when I called my partner to ask she said no. So none of them were looting, but it was a panic of the people," he said.
In Eleven, businesses also lowered their blinds out of fear. Photo: Juano Tesone
The paranoia extended for several hours in Flores, many merchants who usually close around 16 p.m. went ahead and began to lower their blinds to end the day. "That's it, there's no one else on the street. It's a lost day, it's going to be done," said Roberto a merchant on Nazca Street angrily.
City police rushed to the areas after receiving calls about alleged looting. "There the activity was developing normally, without any irregularity," the force said in an official statement.
"Seeing the movements of the police personnel, the merchants lowered the blinds but after a few minutes, they reopened their businesses. The Monitoring Center reports that all cameras in the vicinity of the intersection of Nazca and Avellaneda avenues were verified. No group of people carrying out illicit acts was visualized. At the moment great agglomeration of passers-by normal for the day and time, "they said.
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