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ARGENTINA | 29-05-2019 14:41

General strike against Macri brings country to standstill

Seventy unions adhered to yesterday's strike, with dozens more political and social groups adding their voices to the protest.

Thousands of people took to the streets and plazas of Argentina yesterday to decry the government's economic policies, in what was the sixth general strike against the Macri administration since it came to power in late 2015.

"The strike was unanimous in the industrial sector and this has to do with the economic policies of this government", Food and Beverage Union general secretary Rodolfo Daer told El Destape radio.

Seventy unions adhered to yesterday's strike, with dozens more political and social groups adding their voice to the protest. It was organised by the CGT union confederation.

"The strike has been very effective, very large, and with strong adhesion. Once again it shows the need workers have to express their rejection of the government's policies", said union kingpin Hugo Moyano, the leader of the so-called Union Front for a National Model, speaking at a press conference alongside union colleagues.

"These strikes don't happen because people enjoy them, they happen out of necessity", he claimed.

He hoped the strike "would make the President reflect because otherwise I do not see a bright future for Argentines with this economy policy. What is happening is disastrous. If he doesn't understand it, then it's clear he is not fit to govern a country like ours", Moyano added.

"They [the government] were going to lower poverty, and there are now more poor people. They were not going to go to the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and there were going to be investments, but they took on more debt and there were no investments", Daer added, recalling some of Macri's 2015 election promises.

The strike was aimed at "changes the course of the economy" and sending a "strong" message to Mauricio Macri about his government's performance, Bank Workers general secretary Sergio Palazzo explained.

"The economic policies of the Macri government have hurt workers, pensioners, and small and medium businesses, and it is getting worse. This is why the strike today has been so strong", he added.

'SICK OF STRIKES'

The Macri administration faces an uphill battle toward re-election in October's general and presidential elections.

The president yesterday attended Army Day events where he criticised previous governments for their perceived "budgetary and symbolic" abandonment of the Armed Forces.

For her part Security Minister, Patricia Bullrich, lamented the general strike saying "we are sick of strikes".

Yesterday's, she said, was "undemocratic".

"The freeways are totally unblocked and people can come to work. What is amazing is that at some supermarkets and petrol stations there are pickets of workers who are not letting other workers in", she lamented, speaking to La Red radio.

"We're sick of strikes. We know already that when the government is not the party of the unions [Peronism], then this happens. It is undemocratic but we have to put up with it", she lamented.

"We will not allow a total blockage of entry in the Capital. We will use the force granted to us by the law", she charged.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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