Giulia Petroni is a journalism student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Thousands or anti-G20 protesters flooded a heavily fortified 9 de Julio Avenue in central Buenos Aires yesterday. But despite some arrests by security forces and the confiscation of molotov cocktails, hammers, and other objects that could be used to attack security forces, the protests passed off in a mostly peaceful manner.
“Say no to G20, down with the Macri-IMF deal, no to Trump and other imperialists, no to Bolsonaro, no to paying the foreign debt, no to austerity, no to giving in and repression.”
Under that rather long message, more than 100 social, political, cultural, and union-linked organisations marched through Buenos Aires City’s main artery to Congress to repudiate globalization, capitalism, and the G20 summit being held less than 10 kilometres away.
The march was led by Nora Cortiñas of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo – Founding Line and representatives of Nobel Peace Price laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, who was absent due to illness. They were joined by a host of organisations, many of them left-leaning. Many groups traditionally associated with Kirchnerite political groups – such as CTEP, Barrios de Pie, Movimiento Evita, and Partido Obrero – were also in attendance.
In the build-up to the G20 Leaders Summit, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich had sought an agreement with organisers to avoid violence. Some 2,500 security officers were designated for the operation that began on Thursday with the locking down of 9 de Julio Avenue. “During the protest our security forces will not be carrying lethal weapones,” Bullrich explained.
Ahead of the march, security forces confiscated rudimentary weapons from a small number of protesters. Molotov cocktails were found in a burnt-out taxi in Monserrat neighborhood, while a couple with glass bottles, hammers, nails, wrenches, and other such objects were aprehended downtown.
Guillermo Pistonesi, national representative of the Socialists’ Workers Party (PTS) was taken into custody by members of the Gendarmerie (Border Guard) with eight concealed molotov cocktails and 25 walkie-talkies, according to local dally Pagina/12.
Peaceful protesters carried colourful signs mainly targeting President Mauricio Macri, US President Donald Trump, Christine Lagarde and the International Monetary Fund, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many demonstrators wore Guy Fawkes masks or bore full bodypaint.
Juan Grabois, head of the CTEP, told Perfil: “We are sad and ashamed at what our leaders have done in terms of ‘cleaning’ the city of poor people, locking it down to hide social protests, in an attempt to give an image that simply isn’t true, as the IMF’s policies continue to favour the one percent and not the majority of society.”