Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Buenos Aires Wednesday to demonstrate against the government of President Mauricio Macri's neoliberal reforms, demanding the Congress to pass a bill declaring a state of Food Emergency in order to address poverty and hunger growing across the country.
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Protesters brandished banners slamming Macri’s economic austerity policies and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), heading towards the Congress and the Ministry of Social Development.
Since the beginning of the year, tens of thousands of demonstrators repeatedly took to the streets to protest high unemployment, high inflation, recession and the policies of the right-wing government of Macri.
“Salary increases now! The debt is with the people, not with the IMF,” one banner with large red letters read. Others demanded proper wages and lower inflation, while some placards read “Macri and the IMF out.”
Many Argentinians are bitterly resentful of the IMF ever since a massive economic crisis and devaluation in 2001 was largely caused by the Fund’s austerity and macroeconomic policies prescribed for the country.
According to the Public Policies' investigation unit at the University of Avellaneda, at least five million people in Argentina can not afford the basic food basket - twice more than the estimate registered when Macri's presidential term started.
The National Institute of Statistics published a report last month that said the percentage of children below the poverty line is now 49.6 percent, an increase of over 11 percent in one year. A separate report, published by the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, at the same time, puts the figure at 51 percent.
Poverty in other ages groups has also risen within the same year. Among young people aged 15-29, poverty increased from 30.5 percent to 40.1 percent. Among those aged 30-64, it rose from 21.1 to 29.4 percent. And over 65 years, from 6.1 to 9.1 percent.