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News > Argentina

Argentine Government Announces a Total Crackdown On Protests

  • View of the Buenos Aires obelisk.

    View of the Buenos Aires obelisk. | Photo: X/ @daviddelapaz

Published 15 December 2023
Opinion

The new "Security Protocol" precedes potential widespread discontent in a country where nearly 45 percent of the population is poor.

On Friday, social and political groups in Argentina rejected the "Security Protocol" announced by Security Minister Bullrich, labeling it as unconstitutional.

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"If the streets are taken, there will be consequences," Bullrich declared in anticipation of street protests following the economic policies promoted by the far-right President Javier Milei.

"The four federal forces and the penitentiary service will intervene in the face of blockades whether partial or total. The law is not fulfilled halfway. The law is either fulfilled or not," she said.

In the case of blatant crimes being committed, Argentine security forces will intervene immediately, using force progressively in proportion to the resistance people pose.

"Streets are not to be taken. We will restore order to the country so that people can live in peace," Bullrich affirmed, warning that the Milei administration will penalize those who make, organize, instigate, or are accomplices to blockades.

It will also inspect the facilities of organizations suspected of promoting protests, establish a ban on marching with covered faces, or bringing children to protests. If participants are foreigners with temporary residence, they will be reported to the Immigration Directorate.

The far-right regime also threatened to make groups related to the organization of protests pay for the costs of the deployment of federal security forces.

These repressive measures precede potential widespread discontent in a country where nearly 45 percent of the population is poor.

In the short term, Argentinians will have to cope with a year-on-year inflation rate of 161 percent, which could escalate to hyperinflation of 15,000 percent in the coming years, as acknowledged by Milei himself.

Leaders of workers' organizations such as Vanina Biasi, Gabriel Solano, and Eduardo Belliboni upheld the constitutional right to protest, emphasizing that the Milei regime "lacks legal authority" to prevent it.

"What bothers them is that people protest against the measures of their government," said legislator Myriam Bregman from the Left Front and Workers (FIT), who recalled that far-right activists previously blocked roads to protest against progressive governments.

The leader of the Public Workers' Association (ATE), Rodolfo Aguiar, emphasized that social conflicts should not be resolved by the police or the judiciary but by those who govern because that's why they were elected.

"The measure announced by the minister aims to address the consequences and not the causes of the protests. If they don't want conflicts, then the government should stop economic adjustments and increase salaries."

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