Massive protests leaves Argentine Budget session awry and bloody, 31 detained so far

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 25, 2018 12:45 hrs
Argentine Budget

Violent protests marred a budget session in Argentine, with lawmakers clashing inside the national Congress and demonstrators taking on law enforcement officials outside the building.

According to fresh unconfirmed media reports, nearly 31 have been detained by law enforcement officials.

Several colleagues of ruling party legislator Luis Mario Pastori said that the police were firing rubber bullets onto protestors. Pastori had been making a speech on Wednesday on the 2019 Budget.

"It's a pity that the opposition legislators do not want to hear the words of a government representative. It's an absolutely intolerant and undemocratic act," Efe quoted Pastori as saying.

Within minutes, many of the legislators were on feet, amid frentic tension and shoving.

Speaker Emilio Monzo adjourned the house for 10 minutes.

The clash between police and protesters outside began around noon, after the latter resorted to stone-pelting prompting forces to lob tear gas and water cannon.

After the house resumed, instead of debating the budget bill the opposition demanded that the municipal commissioner and federal Security Minister Patricia Bullrich must appear before the Congress to explain the behavior of security forces.

Opposition members complained that they had been attacked by members of the security forces when they left Congress to interpose themselves between the police and the demonstrators.

The special session was focused on debating the budget bill sent to Congress by the government of conservative President Mauricio Macri, which called for additional austerity measures amid inflation, rising poverty and persistent unemployment.

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With Agency inputs