Argentines march on Congress
BUENOS AIRES - Argentine demonstrators converged in front of
the nation's Congress to protest the death of two protesters Wednesday
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.
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
Duhalde is struggling to reduce a 24 percent unemployment rate
and an expected annual inflation rate of 80 percent this year and halt
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.
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
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
de Gennaro, head of the Center for Argentine Workers, told local radio.