Police use excessive force to disperse teachers' protest

Peaceful Assembly

On 9th April 2017, Argentine police violently evicted a group of teachers as they tried to set up a mobile tent school for free classes in front of the Congress in Buenos Aires. The police forcefully removed the teachers and used tear gas and batons. Four demonstrators were arrested then later released. The protest was part of an ongoing conflict between teachers and the government over salary increases.

The government of the city of Buenos Aires justified the use of force, stating that the teachers did not have permission to set up an “itinerant school” in front of Congress. The teachers claimed, however, that they had previously asked authorities for permission to remain there for a few days, without blocking any streets. Following widespread outrage over the authorities' reactions to the teacher protests, the municipal government decided to allow the teachers to demonstrate in front of Congress. The labour union for teachers - CTERA - called for a 24-hour national strike on Tuesday 11th April.

In a separate incident, on 6th April 2017 the first nationwide general strike since President Macri took office took place during the Latin American iteration of the World Economic Forum in Buenos Aires. Many trade unions supported the strike and therefore many public services were affected that day. Hundreds of protesters blocked most of the main entrances to the capital city, and were violently dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannons. Six people were arrested and four injured as a result.

Expression

In March 2017, the digital news resource - Edición Límite - was hacked after it published a series of articles on the current president of the Tribunal de Cuentas (Administrative Court), Oscar Bianioni. After the first cyber attack, the site was moved twice to different servers and then attacked again. The Asociación de Prensa Santa Fe (Press Association of Santa Fe) has condemned the cyber attack as an assault on freedom of expression and has called for an investigation.

As reported previously on the Monitor, a law on access to information was approved in Argentina in 2016. A group of civil society organisations subsequently called on the executive branch of the government to provide directives to align the new law with international standards. The additional provision as such was approved on 28th March 2017.