‘1 million protest’ against Argentinian government

‘1 million protest’ against Argentinian government

‘1 million protest’ against Argentinian government

People carry a large Argentine flag during a protest in Buenos Aires. One million Argentinians protested President Cristina Fernandez’s government. AP photo

An estimated 1 million Argentines marched on April 18 in one of the biggest anti-government protests in years, highlighting public anger over a deteriorating economy and President Cristina Fernandez’s efforts to reform the media and courts.

The demonstration in the capital, Buenos Aires, was peaceful and appeared to be composed primarily of the middle class. Many banged pots and pans in a traditional Latin American form of protest, while others carried signs with slogans such as “Argentina, wake up!” and “Corrupt Cristina.”

Several prominent opposition politicians joined the march, which was planned well in advance on social media. Two spokesmen for the Buenos Aires city government said the turnout in the capital was over 1 million.

“I came to see if the Kirchners will leave and we can make a serious country. That they leave and that peace returns so that we can be a united country once again,” said Lorenzo Velazquez, a 51-year-old food worker. He carried a sign saying “2015 Sin Cristina,” referring to the year when her current term will end.

Fernandez was not in Argentina during the protests, having flown to Peru for a regional summit aimed at supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after this week’s disputed election there.

‘Equal justice for all’

One major lightning rod at the march was Fernandez’s efforts to push through Congress a broad judicial reform, which some say would allow her to appoint more judges sympathetic to her agenda.

“Without equal justice for all, there’s no Republic nor democracy. Only an active citizenry can defend them,” said Congressman Ricardo Alfonsin of the Radical Civic Union, who trailed Fernandez in the last presidential race.

Fernandez has also been criticized for a media law that analysts say is designed primarily to weaken Grupo Clarin, a media empire that is harshly critical of her. Fernandez says the law is necessary because Clarin’s cable TV and newspaper holdings are unfairly large.

Complied from Reuters and AP stories by the Daily News staff.