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Montevideo, July 18th 2024 - 11:36 UTC



Scuffles in front of Argentine Congress reported

Wednesday, June 12th 2024 - 23:58 UTC
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Five Congressmen were hospitalized after being pepper-sprayed by the police Five Congressmen were hospitalized after being pepper-sprayed by the police

Argentine law enforcement officers Wednesday fired teargas to disperse demonstrators convening in front of Congress to encourage Senators to vote against President Javier Milei's so-called Omnibus Law bill (officially known as Bases Law) with which the Libertarian administration intends to bring the country out of its economic plight. The bill has already been passed by the Lower House.

The operation involving Federal Police, Border Guard (Gendarmería), Coast Guard (Prefectura), and the Airport Security Police (PSA) was overseen by Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, who once again sought to implement the anti-picket protocol she devised. Scuffles were reported and some incidents involved people living on Rivadavia Avenue in front of Congress who were denied access to their homes and arrested for trying to break through the police riot brigade's human fence.

Protesters from leading labor unions such as the CGT, the two CTAs, ATE, and the UTEP convened at the Congress Square alongside human rights organizations, the National Universities Union Front, leftwing parties, and the Kirchnerite grouping La Cámpora, among others to encourage Senators to vote against the Libertarian administration's bill.

According to Infobae, voting was projected to yield a 36-36 split, thus activating Vice President Victoria Villarruel's opportunity to break the tie.

Congressmen Carlos Castagnetto, Leopoldo Moreau, Luis Basterra, Juan Manuel Pedrini, and Eduardo Valdés of the opposition Unión por la Patria (UP) were taken to the Santa Lucia Ophthalmological Hospital nearby after federal forces pepper-sprayed them.

“We began to walk towards the Plaza and the gendarmerie and the Police began to approach and surround us and to throw gas,” complained former Lower House Speaker Cecilia Moreau, the daughter of fellow Deputy Leopoldo Moreau.

“We identified ourselves as deputies and the response was to gas us,” Pedrini explained.

Meanwhile, UP Senator Anabel Fernández Sagasti from Mendoza blamed Villarruel and Bullrich “for the physical integrity of all the citizens who are demonstrating democratically” in the Plaza del Congreso against the Bases Law. She also questioned Villarruel's decision to “militarize the Senate.”

Fernández Sagasti recalled that she had warned that if Congress was being fenced off the way it was being done, “something ugly” was going to happen inside and outside Parliament. “We senators cannot continue looking the other way when this Senate is militarized by the decision of the vice president,“ she insisted.

”Violence leads nowhere,” said Senator Alicia Kirchner from Santa Cruz.

The warning might have been interpreted either way since after 4 pm Wednesday some protesters were reported to have thrown bottles, stones, and tiles, in addition to setting tires on fire. A mobile belonging to Córdoba's news outlet Cadena 3 also went down in flames.

(Story in progress)

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

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