Tens of thousands protest Argentine reforms
Banging on pots, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Argentina early on Friday to protest a possible third term for President Cristina Kirchner.
“Yes to democracy, no to re-election” chanted the flag-waving demonstrators, who also took issue with rampant corruption and crime in the South American country.
Protesters, called to action via social media, marched in the capital Buenos Aires and in other major cities, including Rosario, Mendoza and Bariloche.
“I don’t like some of the government’s attitudes, especially Cristina’s authoritarianism,” Federico Chelli, a 20-year-old student, told AFP. “She can’t just do whatever she wants under the pretext that she got 54 per cent of the votes.”
Argentina’s first elected female president, Kirchner was voted into office in 2007 and won re-election last year. She succeeded her husband, Nestor Kirchner, who died of a heart attack in 2010.
She is currently barred by the Argentine Constitution from running for a third consecutive term in 2015, but her supporters in Congress have been lobbying for a constitutional amendment.
More than 80 per cent of the population rejects the proposal, according to a survey by the Management & Fit institute.
Topping the list of concerns was lack of safety (79.4 per cent) followed by inflation (64 per cent), according to the poll.
“We’re not scared,” “Save the republic” and “An independent judiciary” were among the banners held above the compact crowd as it moved toward an obelisk in the heart of the capital.
From time to time, participants sang the national anthem.
“The president must listen to us: we don’t want another re-election,” said 60-year-old Nora Perez.
Protesters also took to the streets abroad, including in New York, Washington, Miami, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Toronto and London.
The protest in Argentina followed a similar country-wide demonstration in mid-September that had also been organised via social media.