Tierra del Fuego province deputy governor Juan Carlos Arcando had to be protected by the police and took refuge in the Legislature building in Ushuaia, following an attack by striking province and city personnel who for over two months have been protesting against a new retirement pensions' scheme.
The incident occurred after Arcando participated at the ceremony honoring officers and sailors lost during the sinking of the Argentine navy battle cruiser General Belgrano 34 years ago during the South Atlantic conflict.
There was forty of them approximately: they tried to suffocate me with my tie and they ripped my suit and shirt, screaming and punching, until I was rescued by the local police, said Arcando.
Videos later aired in the local television showed police officers fighting the attackers while Arcando was taken to the Legislature, where apparently he remains since the building has been surrounded by some fifty strikers.
The strikers are protesting the decision to amend a retirement scheme which allowed government, province and city staff to retire at 47.
They insisted in meeting with me, but I told them a dialogue session had been agreed for the following day, so I would not be discussing with them, said Arcando who regretted the violent incidents occurred during the General Belgrano ceremony
Tierra del Fuego government sources said that the attackers are mainly members of the city's workers' union headed by Horacio Gallegos who has been involved in other violent actions. In effect, last 13 April truckers and strikers clashed outside a fuel depot in Ushuaia since the city was running out of gasoline and the fully loaded trucks were stranded. Strikers had set up pickets.
I'm fine, I've been through worst things in my life, said Arcando, who is a former naval officer and on taking the oath of office said he was doing so to the memory of all my comrades who remain in the Malvinas and in the freezing waters of the South Atlantic.
On 2 May 1982, HMS Conqueror sank the General Belgrano battle cruiser that was in the border line of the Falklands exclusion zone. It was the largest single loss during the whole conflict: 323 lives.
Tierra del Fuego cabinet chief Leonardo Gorbacz said that the aggressive attitude of a few union leaders will not be an obstacle for the dialogue meeting agreed. We're not going to put all workers and leaders in the same bag, the majority are rational people who deplore violence.