Argentine anti-gov’t protesters jam streets

Argentine anti-gov’t protesters jam streets

Argentine anti-gov’t protesters jam streets

People bang cooking pans as they march against President Fernandez. AFP photo

Hundreds of thousands of Argentines flooded the streets of the country’s biggest cities on Nov. 8 in a broad protest against President Cristina Fernandez’s interventionist policies and combative style.

Angered by high inflation, violent crime and high-profile corruption, and fearful Fernandez will try to hold onto power indefinitely by ending constitutional term limits, protesters marched on the iconic obelisk in Buenos Aires chanting: “We’re not afraid.”

In a march organized on social media, demonstrators also converged on the pink presidential palace at the Plaza de Mayo square in scorching heat. There was little rowdiness, and the protest had the air of a family affair, with toddlers in strollers and grandparents in wheelchairs joining in.

Protesters in neighborhoods throughout Buenos Aires waved signs demanding freedom, transparency and an end to crime and corruption. A spokesman for the city’s Justice and Security Ministry estimated 700,000 people rallied.

Falling approval ratings

The center-left leader won easy re-election a year ago but her approval ratings have slid since. Her government has virtually banned dollar purchases and it limited imports this year, worsening a steep economic slowdown.

High crime, inflation of roughly 25 percent a year, and a possible bid by government allies to reform the constitution to allow Fernandez to run for a third term are also stoking unrest, particularly among middle-class Argentines.

The president’s approval rating edged up to 31.6 percent in October, up 1 percentage point from a month earlier, while her rejection rating dipped slightly to 59.3 percent, according to the latest poll by the Management & Fit consultancy.

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