Thousands in Argentine protest

2012-11-09 09:04
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez. (File, AFP)

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Buenos Aires - Hundreds of thousands of Argentines flooded the streets of the country's biggest cities on Thursday in a broad protest against President Cristina Fernandez's interventionist policies and combative style.

The centre-left leader won easy re-election a year ago but her approval ratings have slid since. Her government has virtually banned dollar purchases and it limited imports this year, worsening a steep economic slowdown.

High crime, inflation of roughly 25% a year, and a possible bid by government allies to reform the constitution to allow Fernandez to run for a third term are also stoking unrest, particularly among middle-class Argentines.

"We've taken to the streets because we're sick of crime and having our pockets picked. Inflation is killing us, our pensions can't keep up," said Daniel Gonzalez, aged 70, a retired teacher.

Thursday's pot-banging protests conjured memories of the demonstrations staged by angry savers, housewives and students during Argentina's 2001-02 economic and political crisis.

Protesters in neighbourhoods throughout Buenos Aires waved signs demanding freedom, transparency and an end to crime and corruption. A spokesperson for the city's Justice and Security Ministry estimated 700 000 people were rallying in the capital.

Isolation

A similar, smaller protest was staged just two months ago.

Local television showed rallies in other cities, including Rosario, Cordoba and Salta. The demonstrations were organised through social media and not by any one political party.

Some Argentines even took to the streets abroad with hundreds of demonstrators gathering outside the country's consulates in Italy, Spain and the United States.

"We're protesting against Cristina's government so she listens to us. She's not infallible like she wants to seem. With this arrogance we won't get anywhere, we're already quite isolated [in the world] because of her policies," said Pedro Dominguez, a 56-year-old doctor protesting in Buenos Aires.

Fernandez's government has angered trading partners with import curbs and it riled Madrid when it seized control of energy company YPF from Spain's Repsol earlier this year. The country still has outstanding debts dating back to a financial meltdown a decade ago.

Freedom of speech

Critics say a government drive to break up the media empire run by Grupo Clarin is an assault on free speech. But supporters of the anti-monopoly law that is being enforced say officials are democratizing the airwaves.

Fernandez won 54% of votes in October 2011, largely due to an economic boom, job growth and expanded social programs. Her government spends heavily to stoke high economic growth and backs big wage hikes that tend to mirror inflation.

Several government officials have been dismissive of the protests and accused organisers of being on the far right.

Fernandez told supporters on Wednesday that Argentines enjoyed more freedom of speech than ever before.

"If there's a sector that is demanding certain things, they have to stand up and say this clearly. Now, please, don't anyone think that I'll start contradicting my own policies," she said.

The president's approval rating edged up to 31.6% in October, up 1 percentage point from a month earlier, while her rejection rating dipped slightly to 59.3%, according to the latest poll by the Management & Fit consultancy.

Strong support

Other polls have given her higher approval ratings but they also show a decline of 10 to 15 percentage points this year.

"The government and Cristina will emerge even weaker than they were [after the protests] but the opposition will show its impotence and its inability to channel these demands," said Sergio Berensztein, director of the Poliarquia political consulting firm.

Under the constitution, Fernandez cannot run for a third consecutive term in 2015. Local media report her congressional allies may try to reform the country's charter to change this, but the government has not confirmed any such plan.

For now, no opposition leader poses a real challenge to her and the ruling Peronist party still has strong support in the heavily populated working-class outskirts of Buenos Aires.

"Cristina won with 54% of votes and if there were an election today, she would win again because there are no opposition candidates," said Cesar Pacheco, a 62-year-old shipbuilder protesting outside the presidential palace.

Read more on:    cristina fernandez  |  argentina
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!

Who would have guessed the world’s least visited country would have such spectacular beaches?

 
 

I love summer.24

LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.