Buenos Aires Times

argentina Over pension reform scandal

Pot-banging protests ring out across Buenos Aires

For a second consecutive night, peaceful protesters in Argentina turned to their pots and pans. Some decried Monday’s violence near Congress but most seemed focussed on the unpopular pension reform bill at the heart of the conflict.

Wednesday 20 December, 2017
Opposing voices turned to pot banging in Buenos Aires on Monday and Tuesday night, following the passing of a controversial pension reform bill that saw police and protesters clash violently near Argentina's Congress.
Opposing voices turned to pot banging in Buenos Aires on Monday and Tuesday night, following the passing of a controversial pension reform bill that saw police and protesters clash violently near Argentina's Congress. Foto:Télam

As the sad reality of Monday’s violent clashes began to set in, residents across Buenos Aires turned to a traditional form of protest in order to express their anger: pot-banging.

From around 8.00pm Tuesday night, people across the city brought out their pots and pans, or simply banged kitchen utensils on their balcony railings, in large part as an expression of regret and frustration over the series of events that led police and protesters to face off for a second day near Congress.

But there was some confusion as to who and what the pot-banging was all about. In parts of the Palermo neighbourhood, residents could be heard yelling at each other from their balconies, some with anti-government expressions and others that seemed to point the finger for Monday's violence at the opposition.

Yet most reports indicated that protesters had turned to the age-old "cacerolazo" in rejection of the government's pension reform bill, which passed early Tuesday morning.

These spontaneous expressions of protest even led to road blocks. For instance, Córdoba Avenue was cut at 10pm on Tuesday night, at the intersection of Sánchez de Bustamente, where young anti-government protesters gathered. Passersby could be heard bemoaning the road block, questioning the protestors' understanding of the law reform and wondering if they had been sent by their political or ideological leaders to cause havoc.

A larger gathering of people could be found at Congress, where police were holding back from any direct interaction with the group, Perfil reported.

CONTROVERSIAL LAW PASSES

Lawmakers passed the measure in the Chamber of Deputies in a 128-116 vote after debating for more than 12 hours.

The legislation, which had already cleared the Senate, will change the formula that pension benefits are calculated based on inflation instead of wage growth and tax contributions.

It's a key part of a series of economic changes pushed by the government of President Macri to reduce the country’s high deficit and attract investments.

-TIMES

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