The Miami Herald
Jun. 28, 2002

Argentines march on Congress

 Bloomberg News

  BUENOS AIRES - Argentine demonstrators converged in front of the nation's Congress to protest the death of two protesters Wednesday in violent
  clashes with police.

  Hundreds of protesters marched on the square in front of the Congress on Thursday as Senate employees left early to avoid being harassed. Police
  arrested 30 demonstrators carrying Molotov cocktails and sticks, said Héctor Capdet, a spokesman for the Buenos Aires Police Department. He said 2,000
  police officers had been assigned to guard against violence.

  In December, former President Fernando de la Rúa resigned after 27 died in nationwide protests and looting. Wednesday's deaths added to turmoil in
  Argentina, weakening President Eduardo Duhalde's presidency and making it harder for him to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for aid to
  help solve a growing economic crisis, analysts said.

  ''The one thing Duhalde was supposed to do was keep the social peace and now he's showing he can't even do that,'' political analyst Rosendo Fraga

  Duhalde is struggling to reduce a 24 percent unemployment rate and an expected annual inflation rate of 80 percent this year and halt an economic
  contraction that reached 16 percent in the first quarter after Argentina defaulted on $95 billion in debt last year and blocked deposits to halt a run on

  Fraga said an escalation in violence would force the government to call early elections, either by December or the first quarter next year. Elections are
  currently set for September 2003.

  Earlier Thursday, Argentina's third-largest union group began a 24-hour strike to protest the deaths of two demonstrators. The work stoppage was called
  by the Center for Argentine Workers, which represents teachers, state workers, aeronautics and other professions.

  The union said most schools in the province of Buenos Aires were closed after teachers walked out to join the strike.

  ''The work stoppage is to protest the repression the government wants to install to maintain an economic policy that continues producing poverty,'' Víctor
  de Gennaro, head of the Center for Argentine Workers, told local radio.