Environmental activist group Greenpace on Saturday gate-crashed the Rural Society's annual fair with a unique form of protest that took many in attendance, including President Mauricio Macri, by surprise.
Rural Society president Daniel Pelegrina was delivering his organisation's annual remarks on the state of agriculture when two scrolls, one to either side of him, began automatically unrolling. On the first were the words, "Cattle producers, stop deforestation"; while the second one read, "Destroying forests is a crime".
Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said charges were being laid against the organisation for "public intimidation", while an investigation was already underway into how and when activists were able to install the signs.
The Rural Society, which owns the Palermo showgrounds, said it was yet to determine "who it was and how they put them up". However, it believes activists pretended to be maintenance staff on July 26, the day they supposedly installed the remoted-controlled devices, a Rural Society source told Clarín newspaper.
Greenpeace Argentina has long protested the deforestation of Argentina's Gran Chaco forest, the second largest ecosystem in Latin America behind the Amazon, covering large swathes of northern Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil. In Argentina, the practice is particularly intensive in Santiago del Estero, Chaco and Córdoba province.
"Intensive cattle production is destroying forest at huge speed. We will not let them destroy the homes of our last Gran Chaco jaguars which are on the verge of extinction", Greenpeace Argentina wrote in a tweet.
The organisation's Hernán Giardini, coordinator of its Forests campaign, told Perfil that "since the passing of the Forests Law in late 2007, the Rural Society in Salta province has been calling for it to be overhauled and for five million hectares to be destroyed to make way for intensive cattle production".
"Argentina's famous beef reaches consumers in Europe and Israel at the cost of annihilating our forests and jaguars", he added.