A public hearing over the development of El Palomar air base as a commercial airport came to blows yesterday amid tensions among residents, union representatives, government officials and local political leaders.
A fist fight was the sad ending to a public hearing attended by over 400 people, which included presentations by Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich and Morón Mayor Ramiro Tagliaferro.
It was during Tagliaferro’s speech that insults, and eventually violence, broke out.
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As the Mayor spoke, members of the public began yelling and insulting him. Soon, El Palomar resident Oscar Alvarez, a former local council members, came to blows with Kirchnerite council member Hernán Sabbatella, as Alvarez yelled at him: “You lot are never coming back (to power)”.
Sabbatella took to Facebook yesterday to allege that a “group of Tagliaferro’s thugs insulted and hit me during the public hearing over Flybondi. The thugs who attacked us answer to Mayor Tagliaferro and were led by Oscar Alvarez, former council president (placed on the council by) Juan Carlos Rousselot, the political strategist for the PRO (party) in El Palomar”, he claimed.
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The incident has been elevated to the local courts, with both sides taking legal action.
El Palomar residents claim the airport is not fit for high-volume commercial air travel, citing safety and environmental concerns. They have also taken issue with the low-cost airline FlyBondi being granted access to the airport despite a court injunction and an incomplete environment impact assessment.
Supporters of the airport claim that opposition political groups are intent on stymieing the project in order to embarrass the government and local authorities.
The national government has big expectations for the low-cost tourism sector. Dietrich emphasised during yesterday's hearing that the El Palomar airport would create jobs in the local economy.
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