Argentina’s Gualeguaychú Assembly members decided to once again return to blocking the National Route 136 and this way obstruct the international road to neighbouring Uruguay; however, the measure will only take place during the Sundays of September and for a limited time, which came as a surprise.
It was also decided that on October 6, a new assembly-member summit would be held so as to determine how to carry on with a plan of action regarding the conflict over the instalment of the UPM (ex Botnia) pulp-mill plant close to the city of Fray Bentos, located on the eastern coast of the Uruguay River.
Gualeguaychú residents and environmentalists have been objecting since 2006 the establishment of the pulp mill on the Uruguayan side of the river, demanding it be re-located to impede air and water pollution.
The confrontation with pickets blocking all traffic across the international bridge led to a long diplomatic dispute between Argentina and Uruguay that came to an understanding following a ruling this year from the International Court of The Hague, and a political agreement between the Kirchner administration and the incoming Uruguayan government of president Jose Mujica.
Roughly 300 people took part in the assembly, which met at the Gualeguaychú Club Frigorífico, where the debate lasted almost two hours until the moment of the vote, which took place minutes before 11:00 pm.
The vote determined that the motion to return to the roadblock and obstruct the international pass prevailed, but the measure will only take effect during the Sundays of September while assembly members meet at kilometre 28, close to the historic rest stop of Arroyo Verde.
After last week's meeting failed to reach a satisfactory outcome and a final decision, the Gualeguaychú Assembly gathered once more to exchange opinions on the future of the General San Martín Bridge roadblock. How to continue the claim was the core of the debate. In the meantime, and in a move to cool the situation down, Foreign Affairs Minister Héctor Timerman assured scientists are to start monitoring Botnia in less than a month.
The Gualeguaychú activists decided to lift the roadblock two months ago, and were now faced with the deadline they had previously fixed. The Assembly was allegedly divided into two groups: those in favour of continuing the lift and those that were up for launching a new block. The bridge has remained open for the past two months.