Several dozens were arrested Tuesday in Argentina for looting in the provinces of Córdoba and Mendoza, it was reported. There were other incidents in the Greater Buenos Aires area and also in the country's capital.
According to local police, at least 20 people were detained in Cordoba for the looting of some 12 stores while in Mendoza charges were filed against seven perpetrators. In the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA), an attempted looting of a store was prevented by neighbors.
These are criminal acts to bring more confusion and generate conflict. There is nothing else, they have not been looting, they seek to provoke an action to draw attention, said Security Minister Aníbal Fernandez.
Someone is encouraging it, looking for an alternative that has nothing to do with looting; it is a vocation to generate a conflict, he added.
Since last week we have detected some attempts to set up, through WhatsApp, events of these characteristics, the minister also explained. It is not because of hunger, Fernández insisted. There is no social problem to take care of and attend to, he also argued.
In this scenario, shopkeepers in the CABA neighborhoods of Flores and Balvanera, as well as in some municipalities such as Moreno, Merlo, Escobar, Tigre, Pilar, José C. Paz, and Morón, closed their doors as a precaution. An attempted group robbery was reported in the 1-11-14 shanty town in CABA.
Although some cases were false alarms, it was confirmed that there was looting in supermarkets in José C. Paz, Escobar, Moreno, and Tigre while an attempt was made to rob an appliance store in Pilar, where four people were arrested.
San Martin Judge Gabriela Persichini confirmed an investigation was launched for the looting of a supermarket in José C. Paz.
They broke down the doors and entered the place, which was closed due to rumors of looting. There was a lot of damage, the police arrived and they threw stones and bottles at them. They had to ask for reinforcements and five more patrol cars came down, the magistrate said in a TV interview.
She also pointed out there were four detainees, but there are also many fugitives, so there is a deep investigation to identify them and see how these lootings started.
Tigre Mayor Julio Zamora said there was a looting for which it was possible to act quickly and a person was arrested.
These neighbors who looted a Día Supermarket are mostly young people. We want to bring peace of mind to the population because we are very attentive to what may happen in every part of Tigre, he added.
Other cases of looting in the GBA area went viral on social networks, such as the one in Moreno.
Buenos Aires Security Minister Sergio Berni confirmed 36 people were arrested and spoke of coordinated episodes. He also denounced a campaign on social networks inciting looting.
A Chinese supermarket in La Reja, in the district of Moreno, had been looted and then set on fire. The images were captured by neighbors who shared the videos on social networks. Also, the owner of the store was hit in the head with a brick and had to be hospitalized, although he was later discharged.
Presidential Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti said on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the images that are circulating in the networks are false, published in accounts that are clearly followers or employees of [presidential frontrunner Javier] Milei.
There are rumors and agitation through WhatsApp groups because they are deeply anti-democratic and want to destabilize, she went on.
Throughout the weekend in several provinces, and even today in the city of Buenos Aires, they tried to generate fear and uncertainty among merchants and neighbors, Cerruti also wrote.
Cabinet Chief Agustín Rossi said ”We were aware of it on Friday; it happened first in Mendoza, and then in Rio Cuarto (in the province of Córdoba), and last night in 1-11-14. In all cases we are working from the Ministry of Security of the Nation and the provinces, Rossi also said in a radio interview.
There are detainees by the police and judicial authorities and many of the organizers are citizens who had a criminal record. We do not see in this a social reaction but facts that deserve the full weight of the law.”