BUENOS AIRES – Marches called by leftist organizations blocked points around Buenos Aires on Tuesday as part of a general strike against the austerity policies of Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
From the early hours this morning, dozens of people occupied the Pueyrredon Bridge, gathered around the iconic Obelisk and marched their protest into the Plaza de Mayo where the office of the presidency stands.
Among those in the Obelisk crowd was Silvia Saravia, national coordinator of the Barrios de Pie (Neighborhoods Stand Up) social movement, who told EFE that the protesters need to know, among other things, what kind of deal the government is renegotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In June, the Macri administration negotiated a $50 billion stand-by credit line with the IMF to address a near-halving in the value of the peso against the dollar and a weakening of the economy.
The IMF made the loan conditional on the adoption of stringent austerity policies, which Saravia said would exacerbate the situation of people already struggling to cope with “inflation, the hike in (utility) rates and the lack of jobs.”
“He (Macri) likes to govern for the rich,” Ofelia Gongora of Barrios de Pie said. “He promised ‘zero poverty.’ That zero poverty thing never happened. On the contrary, the poverty keeps growing. As for the IMF, we know perfectly well he’ll come to some agreement that’s totally wrong.”
Another demonstration is expected later Tuesday in front of Congress.
The general strike succeeded in rendering the streets of this capital largely empty, shutting down the bus, metro and commuter rail systems and forcing the cancelation of most domestic flights at the two major airports that serve Buenos Aires.