Argentine President Mauricio Macri presented on Friday a criminal lawsuit against 11 opposition legislators for the alleged crime of "aggravated attack of public officials, resistance or disobedience and cover-up."
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The opposition Front for Victory-Justicialist Party, FpV-PJ, responded with a statement claiming the action "is profoundly undemocratic and constitutes an appalling institutional precedent."
"We want to tell our Argentine society that we are facing a new chapter of political and judicial persecution of opposition leaders, furthered by the nation's president, who clearly does not tolerate voices that criticize him and think differently," the group added.
The lawsuit refers to five different incidents that occured on Dec. 14, when Congress had to postpone its session to vote on highly-unpopular pension reforms.
The incidents involve legislators Myriam Bregman of the FpV-PJ and Mayra Mendoza of the Left Wing Workers Front, FIT, who were allegedly "pouncing" on state forces that had cordoned Congress off. Also involved are Leopoldo Moreau of the FpV-PJ and Horacio Pietragalla of Citizens' Unity, who were allegedly trying to stop state forces from detaining protesters.
A day after the postponed session, Elisa Carrio and Nicolas Massot, two legislators from Macri's Cambiemos party, presented a lawsuit demanding an investigation on "an organized plan to attempt moves against public institutions and Congress' normal operation."
The targeted legislators are outraged given that during the Dec. 14-18 protests, at least seven legislators, 30 journalists and media workers and dozens of civilians were injured by police use of rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas and attack dogs.
Macri's lawsuit comes after Judge Sergio Torres issued an arrest warrant against Cesar Arakaki and Lucas Sauret, members of Argentina's Workers' Party.
The statement by the FpV-PJ concluded saying, "We remain astonished given that it is the first time since the return to democracy that a government criminally sues opposition legislators."