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ARGENTINA | 09-07-2021 17:19

Argentina's opposition rallies with agricultural producers against 'populism'

Protesters rally against President Alberto Fernández's government on July 9, Argentina's Independence Day.

Demonstrations called by agricultural employers and the opposition in Argentina, with tractors and trucks wrapped in national flags, took place at various locations across the country on Friday.

The protesters, who took to the streets on July 9, Argentina's Independence Day, rallied to reject what they described as the "populism" imposed by President Alberto Fernández's government

Several thousand protesters gathered at the side of a road at the demonstration's main rally in the city of San Nicolás, some 240km north of Buenos Aires, in the middle of the rich and fertile humid pampas.

Farmers and opposition militants displayed posters with a slogan declaring they are "for the respect of private property and the National Constitution and the end of state interventionism that threatens employment, regional economies and the development of the country." 

"We want Argentina to free itself from populism," proclaimed Patricia Bullrich at the protest. The PRO party leader, president of the largest opposition group in the Juntos por el Cambio opposition coalition, was pictured on horseback and dressed as a gaucho, with a hat, poncho and boots, at the event.

Agricultural producers are supported by the opposition in their calls to scrap a quota on meat exports and the sanitary restrictions imposed by the ruling Peronist government to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which has almost 98,000 lives and racked up 4.6 million infections, in this country of 45 million inhabitants.

Many demonstrators held up posters denouncing what they perceive as authoritarian policies imposed to limit the movement of people and lower infection rates.

San Nicolás, situated in the province of Buenos Aires, is at the core of a region that produces soy, corn and sunflower for Argentina's multi-million dollar food export market. Other similar and significant protests took place in the provinces of Tucumán, Santa Fe and Córdoba.

The opposition and the faming sector also question the recent nationalisation of the Paraná-Paraguay River waterway, the main route of navigation to the sea for ships transporting grains, oils and flours bound for Europe and Asia.

One of the largest employers, which groups ranchers under the banner of CARBAP, joined the mobilisation to call "for a republican, productive and free Argentina."

The powerful industry group raised "the demand, once again, to say enough to terrible suffocating tax pressures."

Midterm legislative elections are due to be held in Argentina on November 14, with the PASO primaries scheduled for September 12.

– TIMES/AFP

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