Saturday, October 23, 2021

Violent incidents inside, outside Argentine Congress during budget debate

Buenos Aires, Oct 24 (EFE).- Violent incidents occurred both inside and outside the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires on Wednesday during debate over the 2019 budget, with lawmakers pushing and shouting at each other and demonstrators clashing with police at the doors of the building.

During the speech by ruling party legislator Luis Mario Pastori, several of his colleagues began shouting that police outside the building were firing rubber bullets at the protesters.

“It’s a pity that the opposition legislators do not want to hear the words of a representative of the government. It’s an absolutely intolerant and undemocratic act,” Pastori said.

Within just a few minutes, many of the legislators rose from their seats and, in a moment of great tension and shoving, house speaker Emilio Monzo decided to call for a 10-minute recess.

The clash between police and protesters outside began around noon, when some of the latter started throwing rocks and the cops responded with tear gas and water cannon.

After the recess, deputies resumed the plenary session, but, instead of debating the budget bill, the opposition blocs took the floor to demand that the debate be interrupted until municipal commissioner and federal Security Minister Patricia Bullrich appears before Congress to explain the behavior of the 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 is focused on debating the budget bill sent to Congress by the government of conservative President Mauricio Macri, which calls for additional austerity measures amid inflation, rising poverty and persistent unemployment.