Argentina: massive protests with display of national flags against government policies

Tuesday, October 13th 2020 - 09:02 UTC

Government claimed the protests were organized by the opposition and accused some of the leaders of been inspired in hate and even worse promoting contagion. Photo: REUTERS


Thousands of Argentines flying the national colors on Monday took to the streets across the country's main cities to protest against the government of President Alberto Fernandez and his policies, which after over 200 days of quarantine/isolation have been unable to contain the pandemic, left the economy in shatters and threaten democratic institutions.

The spontaneous gathering responded to the hashtag *12O (12 October) and in Buenos Aires City protestors flocked on foot and in cars to the obelisk in an impressive outburst, according to drone pictures, many with banners protesting the quarantine, insecurity, loss of economic activity and jobs, corruption, trampling of the constitution and individual freedoms.

Last Friday president Alberto Fernandez announced the extension of “preventive isolation” measures for another two weeks, precisely when the coronavirus cases are peaking in contagion numbers and death toll, despite the many months of a strict lockdown.

This is the fourth/fifth protest in which Argentines take to the streets with flags to show their support for the republic and no specific political party, and basically to complain the dual presidency ruling the country.

In effect, Alberto Fernandez is formally the president, but real power and the most important decisions rest on vice-president Cristina Kirchner and her think tank Patria (Fatherland). On several occasions the different approaches have been exposed, with the president having to back step.

This has infuriated most participants in the demonstrations who are convinced that Cristina Fernandez is determined with her party's majority in the Senate, to make the necessary changes in the Judicial branch to ensure all corruption cases against her and her children are annulled or thrown out.

The protests with flags was repeated all over the country with residents of each major city emphasizing or complaining about their plight, but the trampling of the constitution and individual freedoms was high in the list.

Government claimed the protests were organized by the opposition and accused some of the leaders of been inspired in hate and even worse promoting contagion, by ignoring pandemic measures such as face masks and social distancing.

President Fernandez said that dissenting with government is part of democracy, demonstrating even with the risk of the pandemic also, but “promoting a protest at the home of a person only increases the gap and damages democratic coexistence” . The presidential tweet included the hashtag *ArgentinaUnida.

There were two weak points in the demonstrations when some convened in front of Cristina Fernandez home in Buenos Aires City and outside the presidential residence in Olivos, This gave foot to claim the protests were organized by the opposition, and in Olivos security forces formed a barrier between demonstrators with flags and banging pots and pans, and a group of most probably contracted militants who said they had come to defend the government of president Fernandez.

But besides these minor incidents the rally convened and disbanded peacefully, and most probably will be holding further “banderazos” (flag waving protests)

But government will not remain paralyzed: they are organizing a major display of supporters and militancy for October 17, which is a sacred day for the Argentine labor movement and their icon ex-president Juan Domingo Peron.


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