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ARGENTINA | 10-01-2024 16:48

Bullrich says strict protest rules will be removed from Milei's bill

After public outcry, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich announces that government will withdraw restrictions on meetings of three or more people in public spaces.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich on Wednesday announced a U-turn in Congress, stating that President Javier Milei’s government has decided to reverse its move to introduce strict limits on protest.

Bullrich, 67, said President Javier Milei’s administration would back out of its push to oblige any meetings of three people or more in public spaces to request permission from the authorities beforehand. 

She made the announcement during congressional debate on Milei’s so-called ‘Ley Omnibus’ bill (whose formal designation is ‘Ley de Bases y Puntos de Partida para la Libertad de los Argentinos’), which seeks to make sweeping changes to Argentina’s economic and labour laws.

“I’ve come to tell you that our aim is to withdraw that article directly because it has been sufficiently explained in other articles,” explained Bullrich regarding the controversial Article 331, which in opposition eyes represented a grave danger to the legitimate and constitutional right to protest.

Human rights groups and NGOs had criticised the proposed rules as anti-democratic and said accused the former PRO leader of seeking to criminalise protest.

“Having caused some confusion, we thought it was best to withdraw it,” argued Bullrich during a plenary session of Chamber of Deputies committees tackling the bill. “Having been interpreted otherwise, better to withdraw it directly.”

In Article 331 of the bill, the government defined a meeting or demonstration as “the intentional and temporary congregation of three or more people in a public space.”

As previously stipulated in the omnibus law, such meetings or demonstrations should be notified at least 48 hours beforehand to the Security Ministry, which would retain the power to authorise or reject the gathering.

That request was required to include the characteristics of the demonstration, the data of the person or organisation convoking it, specifying “names and personal data,” the objective, the route of the march, its duration and the estimated number of participants.

 

– TIMES/NA

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