Riot Police Deployed as Leftist Protest Against Argentine President

Clashes between Argentine police and anti-government demonstrators protesting President Javier Milei’s austerity measures grew heated last Wednesday after protesters blocking traffic along the central thoroughfare in Buenos Aires were forcibly removed, the Associated Press reported.

The demonstrators descended on the Ministry of Human Capital, the agency that oversees the country’s social benefits.

Melei drastically cut government spending across the board, including social benefits. The cuts resulted in public employees losing their jobs, subsidies getting cut, and public works projects getting canceled.

With high inflation and increased poverty, many Argentines have flocked to soup kitchens and food pantries operated by social groups and left-wing political parties. However, with the cuts to government subsidies, the supplies to food pantries and soup kitchens have been drastically reduced.

Police in riot gear deployed water cannons to disperse the crowd and eight protesters were arrested after demonstrators demanding an increase in food subsidies set fire to garbage cans and hurled rocks and other objects at police while defying the new law banning roadblocks.

Argentina has been gripped by a wave of protests and strikes in recent months as the country struggles to deal with the austerity measures Milei imposed to address soaring inflation.

In December, President Milei’s government enacted new measures empowering the country’s security forces to apprehend and disperse protesters who block roadways. The president has also threatened to withhold social assistance from any protesters accused of blocking traffic.

In a post on X, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich posted a series of screen captures showing the police response to the protest, tweeting “LEY Y ORDEN” (LAW AND ORDER).

Argentina’s Minister of Security Waldo Wolff said last Wednesday that authorities had finished liberating the Buenos Aires thoroughfare Julio de 9 and had restored order in the center of the capital.

He told reporters that the eight individuals arrested during the protest had been charged with vandalism.