Massive protests against lockdown, judicial reform held across Argentina
Buenos Aires, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- Thousands of demonstrators took to the street in cities across Argentina on Monday to protest against President Alberto Fernandez’s planned judicial reform and extension of quarantine measures against COVID-19.
Protesters gathered in Argentina’s largest cities including Cordoba, Mendoza, Santa Fe, Tucuman and Olivos, the site of one of the president’s official residences.
In Buenos Aires, thousands of protesters gathered around the landmark Obelisk and marched to the Plaza de Mayo, the seat of the government.
Although the main opposition coalition did not call for the demonstration, some of its leaders, such as the president of the Republican Proposal (PRO) and ex-security minister, Patricia Bullrich, joined the march. Bullrich posted a video on her social media account.
“I came to tell the president that quarantine may not exist for him, but it does exist for thousands of gastronomic workers, artists, plumbers… a lot of people who are having a hard time being out of work,” she said.
The mandatory lockdown began in March and movement restrictions continue to be enforced. Some businesses still cannot fully resume normal functioning.
Many of the demonstrators called for an end to the lockdown imposed almost five months ago to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
Argentina has been recording its worst daily COVID-19 figures for the past few weeks. So far, 5,814 deaths and 299,126 cases have been reported.
On Sunday alone, the country saw 4,557 new cases and 111 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
There were days last week in which 200 deaths were exceeded, so the call for the march sparked diverse opinions within the opposition.
“We ask you that the collective effort that we are all making together to get out of this situation is not at risk due to the need for a subgroup of the population to express themselves,” said Buenos Aires City Health Minister Fernan Quiros from PRO, adding that if people decided to take to the streets, they should do so “with the utmost precaution.”
Meanwhile, Bullrich also criticized the judicial reform that Fernandez announced at the end of July.
“It is time for the judicial reform to be lifted. And you need to understand and see that there are people demanding there be a country with a Constitution, with justice,” she said, addressing the president.
According to the government, the reform aims to give more independence and effectiveness to the judiciary.
The main opposition front, however, rejects the reform because they consider that it seeks to foster impunity for the former president and current vice president, Cristina Fernández, accused of corruption.
With the judicial reform, the government is “working so that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has her impunity,” according to opposition congressman Waldo Wolff. EFE-EPA