Protests against hunger and poverty in Argentina

Peaceful Assembly

Organisations demand policies against poverty and hunger

In the run up to Argentina’s general elections in October 2019, social movements and opposition groups organised several demonstrations to protest the government’s socioeconomic policies. During Argentina’s current economic crisis, the peso suffered a sharp devaluation while unemployment and inflation soared.

Protesters in more than 20 provinces mobilised to demand government initiatives to help Argentina's poorest in September and October 2019. They asked for social programmes for those less well-off and, in particular, policies related to food and hunger, as well as increases in salaries in line with inflation. According to the demonstrators, rampant inflation and austerity policies left many Argentinians struggling to buy food.

On 11th September 2019, the police used tear gas to disperse a demonstration against hunger whose participants intended to set up a camp in front of the Ministry of Social Development in the centre of Buenos Aires. Some demonstrators responded by throwing stones at the police. The repression resulted in protesters injured and at least four people detained.

On 27th October 2019, opposition candidate Alberto Fernández was elected president of Argentina. He was sworn in as president on 10th December 2019.

Violence in demonstration to support Chilean protesters

On 21st October 2019, around 300 people joined a demonstration to condemn the repression of protests in Chile in front of the country’s consulate in Buenos Aires. As reported by news outlets, the protest began peacefully but a group of demonstrators became violent, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, and setting fire to garbage cans. The police used tear gas to disperse the protest and clashes resulted in nine demonstrators detained and several people injured, including three journalists covering the demonstration.

Repression of protests in Argentina

During the first three years of Mauricio Macri's government, at least 1452 protesters were arrested in protests. Union leaders were often involved, with 53% of cases taking place in labour-related protests. 22% of protesters detained were participating in demonstrations for housing and/or land. This data is presented in a new report on the increasing criminalisation of peaceful assembly, "Informe sobre criminalización de la protesta social en la Argentina (2016-2018)", published on 22nd October 2019 by the Observatorio del Derecho Social de la CTA Autónoma (Observatory of Social Right of the Argentinian Workers Union) with the human rights organisation Liberpueblo.

Expression

In September 2019, broadcaster Canal 7 de Jujuy’s programme Jujuy Investiga reported a story involving the attorney general of the Superior Court of Justice and members of the General Accounting Office. The Prosecutor of Complex Investigations, Marcelo Cuellar, then requested details of the programme’s payroll, production and editing, as well as the names of its hosts. Several news outlets and attorney associations classified this as an attempt to curtail freedom of expression. Two of the country’s main councils of prosecutors and public attorneys issued a public statement condemning Cuellar’s actions and recommending a process to expel him from both associations.