Argentine protesters take on government

Nov. 8, 2012 at 8:46 PM
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BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Argentine protesters took to the streets of Buenos Aires to air their anger and frustration with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is accused of failing on promises made before her re-election last year.

Government supporters reacted sharply to the cross-section of protesters who turned up in the thousands to take part in the "8-N" rally, which had citizens banging pots to vent their annoyance with Fernandez.

The annual protest on Nov. 8 has drawn people with grievances from different walks of life and, analysts say, the political make-up of the rallies changes each time a street demonstration is mounted by broad coalitions of political and social groups.

Loyalist pro-Fernandez Sen. Anibal Fernandez dismissed the action as an ultra-right-wing enterprise, the Buenos Aires Herald reported.

"While there are people who are going to protest tomorrow (Thursday) because of things they don't like, most of them are brought together (with) direct backing by the extreme right," he said.

The protesters rejected the charge and their representatives, quoted in Argentine media, denied any extreme right-wing connections.

Radical party lawmaker Maria Luisa Storani said charges the protest was run by ultra rightists was "the worst thing" and denounced the government attempts to characterize the protests as being dominated by Argentina's extreme right.

"They're saying it's a right-wing demonstration and it's not. The 8-N is a democratic

event," Storani said.

This was the second pot-banging protest to fill the streets of the capital in less than two months. Protesters unhappy with Fernandez policies and critical of her alleged failure to act on much needed economic reforms took to the streets of Buenos Aires Sept. 13.

The pot-banging tradition goes back several years and the biggest protest of the kind overwhelmed Buenos Aires in 2001. In 2008 the capital was taken over by angry farm protests.

More than a year has passed since her re-election but Fernandez is facing mounting anger from lawmakers, politicians and professionals, business people, trade unionists and farmers over the country's mounting economic problems.

Blackouts plunged the capital into darkness for several hours Wednesday but officials couldn't say what caused the outage. The government has announced an investigation.

Other political leaders taking part in the protest, including center right PRO leader Federico Pinedo, said government attempts to sow class distinctions among the masses of protesters in the streets couldn't work.

Protesters say the marches include professionals and other workers affected by the government's economic policies or delays in implementing long promised reforms.

"Taking a classicist approach is a mistake, because precisely what the people are demanding is that on Thursday they are listened to," Pinedo said in a Mercopress report.

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