BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of protesters, marching under the banners of unions and left-wing groups, blocked traffic in Argentina’s capital on Friday to pressure the government to increase subsidies to the poor.
The country continues to suffer from a prolonged economic recession nearly a year after the center-right administration of President Mauricio Macri took office and instituted market-friendly reforms aimed at boosting Argentina’s competitiveness and to control runaway inflation.
Macri has largely maintained the generous social programs inherited from Cristina Fernandez’s previous populist administration, but his relations with unions and left-wing social groups have been strained due to soaring consumer prices.
Some of the country’s largest unions, including the General Confederation of Workers, blocked 9 de Julio Avenue – one of the widest streets in the world – on Friday to pressure the government to approve legislation which would increase subsidies to the poor and create jobs with public funds.
“I don’t think the government has the courage to change the situation,” said Pablo Moyano, deputy secretary of a powerful truckers union. “They govern for the richest sectors. I wish they had worked as quickly on a solution for the workers as they did for the farmers, for the miners. “
Macri’s ruling coalition opposes the law, which was approved by the Senate this week but has yet to be considered by the lower house.
Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Editing by Steve Orlofsky