Picketers and social organizations paralyzed the main artery of Buenos Aires on Thursday, causing traffic chaos in the capital.
Marching on the Ministry of Social Development on Avenida 9 de Julio, three columns of Unidad Piquetera protesters also clashed with security forces at the Pueyrredón bridge, where officers were seen pushing and shoving and deploying gas peppered as protesters were briefly restrained.
Polo Obrero leader Eduardo Belliboni accused security forces and police of seeking to attack a peaceful protest and acting with brutality.
“We are mobilizing to refuse austerity on neighborhood canteens, for the reopening of social programs and because we want real work – a demand we have been asking for for a year,” Belliboni said.
Marching to reject the government’s economic program and demanding greater food aid and an increase in social support programmes, protesters wreaked havoc in the capital as the mobilization progressed on Avenida 9 de Julio.
Early estimates put the size of the protest at some 80,000 people, although the crowds appear to be somewhat larger.
A total of 25 organizations participated in Thursday’s event, including Polo Obrero, Barrios de Pie, Frente de Organizaciones en Lucha and the Frente Popular Darío Santillán, among others. They came together under a banner of three demands: “For work, against hunger and poverty”; “Recover fallen wages”; “Against the austerity of the International Monetary Fund.”
Protesters also plan to take to the streets next Monday (June 13), descending on the obelisk to “vote a plan to fight against austerity measures”.