Argentine police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters gathered outside Congress in Buenos Aires as lawmakers. debated the vast program of economic, social and political reforms of newly elected President Javier Milei.
Opposition MPs stormed out of the building at one point to observe and denounce the police action, but then returned inside to take their seats and the debate continued until after midnight.
Local media reported three injuries and several arrests. The Buenos Aires press union reported that at least a dozen journalists were hit by rubber bullets, including one in the face.
It all happened on the second day of what is expected to be a marathon debate on the so-called omnibus reform bill.
This 53-year-old political outsider – self-proclaimed libertarian and anarcho-capitalist – won a resounding electoral victory last October, riding a wave of fury over decades of economic crises marked by debt, rampant money printing, inflation and budget deficits.
Milei began his tenure in devalue the peso by more than 50 percent, cutting state subsidies for fuel and transportation, halving the number of ministries and removing hundreds of rules to deregulate the economy.
Its major reform program affects all areas of public and private life, from privatization to cultural issues, including the penal code, divorce and the status of football clubs.
But many Argentinians already are Rebell and organized a strike less than two months into his mandate.
“Milei promises that his austerity measures and reforms will reduce Argentina’s soaring inflation and revive the economy,” lamented Teresa Bo of Al Jazeera, reporting from Thursday’s demonstration.
She noted, however, that the unrest showed “how difficult the coming months will be and how ready the president is to confront those who dare to oppose him.”