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Montevideo, July 20th 2018 - 14:35 UTC

Violent protests in Buenos Aires as Congress attempted to discuss a pensions reform plan

Friday, December 15th 2017 - 07:51 UTC
Full article 111 comments
Riot police used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators, who threw stones and burned barricades made of rubbish outside Congress (Pic Clarin) Riot police used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators, who threw stones and burned barricades made of rubbish outside Congress (Pic Clarin)
Cabinet chief Marcos Peña accused the opposition of inciting the violence: “We saw the clear search for violence, first in the street and then on the premises itself.” Cabinet chief Marcos Peña accused the opposition of inciting the violence: “We saw the clear search for violence, first in the street and then on the premises itself.”
Inside the legislature, the unrest forced the postponement of the vote, as opposition lawmakers cried out for the debate to be suspended. Inside the legislature, the unrest forced the postponement of the vote, as opposition lawmakers cried out for the debate to be suspended.
“We cannot sit in session with this violence,” said Elisa Carrio, National Deputy for Buenos Aires and leader of the social liberal Civic Coalition ARI party. “We cannot sit in session with this violence,” said Elisa Carrio, National Deputy for Buenos Aires and leader of the social liberal Civic Coalition ARI party.

A trade union-organized march in Buenos Aires descended into violence Thursday, with thousands of protesters clashing with police as they demanded lawmakers reject a controversial pension reform plan. Riot police used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators, who threw stones and burned barricades made of rubbish outside the doors of Argentina's congress.

 Cabinet chief Marcos Peña accused the opposition of inciting the violence, saying: “We saw the clear search for violence, first in the street and then on the premises itself.”

But the General Labor Confederation, the country's main trade union, pointed the finger at the government, blaming it for the “militarization of the surroundings of the congress.”

Inside the legislature, the unrest forced the postponement of the vote, as opposition lawmakers cried out for the debate to be suspended.

“We cannot sit in session with this violence,” said Elisa Carrio, National Deputy for Buenos Aires and leader of the social liberal Civic Coalition ARI party.

The debate was supposed to take place next week to allow parliamentary committees the chance to analyze the issue -- but the ruling party on Wednesday forced its acceleration into the lower Chamber of Deputies, sparking fury from the unions.

If passed, President Mauricio Macri's reform will play an important part in cutting Argentina's fiscal deficit, with expected savings of 100 billion pesos (US$5.6 billion). The government needs to cut the deficit by 4.2% this year.

The opposition argues reform would negatively impact some 17 million retirees, as it would change the formula used to calculate benefits, adjusting payments quarterly taking only the official inflation index into account.

As it stands, the Argentine retirement system guarantees those who contribute to it 80% of their wages for 30 years, with limits for the highest salaries. Since 2009, retirees have received automatic increases every six months.

Pena insisted during a press conference that the reform “is a good law,” and accused the opposition of inciting the violence. Pena also denied that pensions are being reduced, and said “the five percent increase in real terms above inflation is guaranteed.”

Constitutional experts have warned that if the reform is passed in its current form, hundreds of lawsuits may be filed against the state for violating constitutional principles.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • Marti Llazo

    Violent Kirchnerist hooligans in the streets. We're used to it. Their purpose was the usual -- to prevent discussion of proposals in the legislature, and to interfere with representative government. Reekie is clearly in favour of such anti-democratic anarchism and violent attacks upon the congress.

    Let us remember the Kirchnerist theft of nearly US$30 billion in private pension funds.

    ” On Oct. 21 [2008], Argentina's government, led by Peronist President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, announced their intention to expropriate $30 billion held by Argentine citizens in private pension funds (similar to 401(k) retirement savings accounts). The Kirchners need the money to refinance old bad debts so that they can borrow yet more money to keep the country afloat. The announcement rocked investor confidence in Argentina and sent the Buenos Aires stock market plunging.”

    Next question.

    Dec 15th, 2017 - 03:22 pm +7
  • Tarquin Fin

    That's right Little J.

    It gets even worse when you see the infamous and violent graffitti that these scumbags have spread all over downtown.

    The Ks are using radicalized groups to cause chaos.

    I don't agree with the proposed pension reform, but my right to disagree doesn't give me any special rights to invade congress or vandalize the neighborhood.

    Dec 15th, 2017 - 04:23 pm +7
  • Lightning

    EM

    Monday,
    Associated Press:

    “Some retirees who were protesting the measure were caught up in the middle of the violence when some demonstrators hurled rocks and gasoline bombs, and riot police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets”

    EM,

    What 'peaceful' protesters show up to a rally with gasoline bombs?

    That's ok, it's a rhetorical question.
    we know it is Kirchnerists.

    Dec 19th, 2017 - 03:59 pm +7
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