Protesters marched on the British embassy in Buenos Aires on Friday, burning the Union Jack and demanding Argentina snap diplomatic ties with London in an escalating row over the Falkland Islands.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has sparked fury after he called Argentina’s attitude towards the South Atlantic islands “colonialist.”
“We repudiate the statements of Cameron and of sending imperial troops to the Falklands,” political leader Vilma Ripoll said during the march.
“The government must move from words to deeds and break off relations right now with British colonialism,” she said.
About 100 protesters from the Free of the South Movement, led by former congressman and filmmaker Fernando “Pino” Solanas, burned a British flag a few meters from the embassy of Britain, which has claimed the Falklands since 1833.
“British out of the Falklands” and “The government should break off relations now” were among the slogans written on the protesters’ banners.
Words of protest have also come from Argentina’s political leaders after Cameron’s comment on Wednesday.
“The key point is we support the Falkland Islanders’ right to self-determination, and what the Argentinians have been saying recently, I would argue is actually far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British and the Argentinians want them to do something else,” Cameron told parliament.
The renewed tensions come months before the 30th anniversary of the brief, but bloody war between the two countries over the islands.
The 74-day war for control of the Falklands started on April 2, 1982, and killed 649 Argentines and 255 British. It also forced Argentina to withdraw from the islands in the south Atlantic Ocean.
Cameron has also convened Britain’s National Security Council to ensure military defenses were ready to defend the Falklands.
Tension between Buenos Aires and London has intensified since 2010, when London authorized oil prospecting around the islands.
Last month, nine South American countries agreed to stop allowing ships flying the flag of the Falkland Islands from entering their ports.
The US Department of State has called for negotiations between Argentina and Britain to resolve their dispute.
“We recognize de facto United Kingdom administration of the islands, but take no position regarding sovereignty,” a Department of State spokesman said.