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  • Argentine women participate in a demonstration in Buenos Aires against Macri's economic policies.

    Argentine women participate in a demonstration in Buenos Aires against Macri's economic policies. | Photo: Efe

Published 11 January 2019

Thousands of Argentines marched in Buenos Aires in the first of a series of planned protests against President Mauricio Macri's administration.

Political parties and social organizations joined union calls Thursday for a massive protest in Buenos Aires against increases in public services rates that were announced by Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

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Argentina's Confederation of Workers (CTA) describes the "Torches Marc"' as a night protest which the truckers' union and 62 other social organizations took part in. Demonstrators trek across the streets of the Argentine capital city shouting slogans including "No to Rates Imposed by the Rich" and "Huge Hike (Tarifazo) = Hunger."

The CTA also announced new demonstrations every Thursday in Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities.

"The first measure taken by the Macri's administration in 2019 was to increase rates after a very bad year," national coordinator Daniel Menendez -who added poverty increased markedly in the year past- said.

"The 'Torches March' has great acceptance in Buenos Aires."

In Dec. 26, 2018, the Argentine Government announced an increase of 40% in public transport fares, which is to be applied this month to bus, train and metro trips.

In addition, a 55% increase in electricity prices is to be implemented in Buenos Aires and a 35% hike in the rest of the country's districts.

The austerity measures seek to reduce the government's deficit through the elimination of subsidies for basic services, a policy that President Macri is required to fulfill under the terms of an International Monetary Fund bailout package worth US$57 billion.

Thursday's demonstrations attracted an estimated 20,000 participants carrying signs that read "enough of the Macri/IMF austerity program" as they marched toward Congress.

Thousands of Argentines without any reported political affiliations also joined the march in order to express their dissatisfaction with the condition being faced in their country.

"We are buying food in installments, paying interest to eat, this is illogical, this did not happen three years ago because our salaries allowed us to calmly feed our children, buy them clothes or take them to school," Ezequiel Miguel, a parent of two, said.

According to the latest available official statistics from the first eleven months of 2018, consumer prices in Argentina accumulated an increase of 43.9%, the highest since 1991.

"I am a worker and I defend my rights," Miguel added, assuring attendance to all demonstrations up to February.

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