Several thousand people demonstrated Wednesday in Buenos Aires, giving rise to stampedes with the police and arrests, during the third rally in eight days against a decree of massive deregulation of the economy by the new ultraliberal president Javier Milei.
At the same time, the president elected last month continued his liberal revolution by sending to Parliament, in extraordinary session since Tuesday and until the end of January, a set of projects or modifications of laws affecting many areas of the public and private sphere. , from fiscal to electoral, matrimonial, or control of demonstrations.
In front of the courthouse on Wednesday, the demonstrators, at the call of several unions, including the large central CGT, accompanied the filing of a legal action by unions contesting the constitutional nature of the megadecree of December 20, as the press called it.
We do not question the legitimacy of President Milei, but we want him to respect the separation of powers. Workers need to defend their rights when there is unconstitutionality, construction union leader Gerardo Martinez, one of the organizers, told reporters.
The gathering dispersed peacefully after midday, but scattered groups continued to face the police, deployed in large numbers, who tried to evacuate an avenue, giving rise to stampedes. Seven people were arrested for rebellion, according to several media.
Milei published last week, ten days after taking office, a DNU (decree of necessity and emergency), which aims to modify or repeal more than 300 standards, in particular by removing rent controls , state intervention to protect the prices of essential products, weakening worker protection, enabling privatizations.
Protesters walk near a line of police officers.
The decree comes into force on Friday, pending its effective validation by Parliament, which is however not expected to examine it immediately. Theoretically in summer break, parliament has been sitting in extraordinary session since Tuesday, but only to examine complementary bills, parallel to the DNU, tabled on Wednesday.
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The national representation has the power to repeal this emergency decree with an absolute majority of both chambers, which no political party holds. Milei's party, Libertad Avanza, is only the third force, although it can count on the support of the center-right bloc, the second largest.
Today we turn to justice, but another chapter will be played out in parliament, which will have to hold a deep debate, underlined Gerardo Martinez.
The package of provisions of more than 600 articles tabled on Wednesday, solemnly baptized Law of Bases and Starting Points for the Freedom of Argentines, aims according to the presidency to restore the x27;economic and social order based on the liberal doctrine embodied in the Constitution of 1853, in defense of the life, liberty and property of Argentines.
Jumbled together, it touches on the electoral system – aiming at the elimination of compulsory primary elections, costly for the taxpayer according to the executive -, on the sovereign side, by strengthening criminal sanctions for obstruction during demonstrations. And for retirement, by providing an economically viable automatic calculation method.
Argentinian President Javier Milei
It also specifies the 41 public companies – including the oil giant YPF, the airline Aerolineas Argentinas, the railway company Ferrocarriles Argentinos – that the state wishes to privatize. And also liberalizes the private sphere, with the establishment of an express divorce by simple administrative act.
This train of law signals the #x27;the government's intention to move forward on the parliamentary ground, while a lively debate has arisen in recent days between jurists on the constitutional nature, or not, of the megadecree of December 20.< /p>
Very effective, however, are the first austerity measures announced in the first days of the Milei presidency.
Thus the devaluation of more than 50% of the peso, the national currency, and the imminent reduction, from January, of transport and energy subsidies, will affect the daily life of millions of Argentinians. With, for the government, the objective of reducing Argentina's chronic budget deficit, mired in inflation at 160% over one year.