Peaceful assembly rights undermined by police use of excessive force

Peaceful Assembly

In May and June 2017, several demonstrations took place in Argentina, during which there were documented cases of security forces using excessive forces to disperse protesters.

On 21st May 2017 in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz province, the police dispersed a protest organised by state employees who had been blocking a major road - National Route 3 - for 12 days. The workers had mobilised to demand a solution to the continued delays in receiving pensions and salaries. It was reported that the police used tear gas to break up the protesters. In addition, two people were reportedly detained and many injured, including a journalist reporting on the protest.

On 28th June, Frente Trabajo y Dignidad Milagro Sala (Work and Dignity Milagro Sala´s Front) - a coalition of more than 20 social organisations - held a rally in Buenos Aires. According to reports, police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets to disrupt the rally, and at least ten protesters were detained.

The Argentina-based think tank, Centro de Economía Política Argentina (Centre of Economic Policy), reported that from January to March 2017, the number of labour and social-related conflicts within Argentine society had increased significantly. In these three months, 984 protests took place, which is an 18,4 percent increase from the same period last year. The level of repression of protests has also increased in this period, with 21 such cases documented in this three month period. 

Expression

Alejandro García, a journalist with FM Radio Gonnet in the province of Buenos Aires, was threatened with a gun by David Marcelo Tabarini, a police officer with the Patrol Command of Gonnet. The incident occurred while García was riding public transport and days after he had published an article denouncing irregularities in Police Station Nº13. García and his wife are owners of the radio station and the digital media outlet, Diario Digital de Gonnet. They have previously received threatening phone calls and messages on their Facebook page. Foro de Periodismo Argentino (Argentinian Journalism Forum - FOPEA) has requested that the authorities take the necessary measures to guarantee García and his wife's safety.

In addition, FOPEA has called for a proper investigation into threats against Luciano Mascalini of Radio Ideal in Reconquista, Santa Fe province. Mascali and his wife Luciana González have recently been threatened, as their car was vandalised and there was an attempted forced entry into their home.