Peaceful demonstrations outside the Chilean consulate in Buenos Aires quickly devolved into violent protests on Monday, resulting in rush-hour chaos and the attack of multiple journalists.
Unions, activist groups and social organisations marched from Plaza de Mayo towards the consulate in solidarity with protesters in Chile. Argentina's South American neighbour is currently engrossed in what’s been described as the country’s worst violence in decades, claiming 15 lives and causing more than 80 injuries.
Around 6.30pm, about an hour and a half after the march began, a group of hooded individuals infiltrated the crowd and began throwing molotov cocktails, according to La Nación.
Police promptly responded, sparking the rapid transformation of a conflict-free march into bedlam.
The Todas Noticias news channel confirmed a cameraman from La Nación, Pablo Soria, was attacked from behind and kicked in the head repeatedly, resulting in four stitches. The perpetrators also stole his backpack and camera.
Other journalists were assaulted and had their equipment stolen, including Mariana Segulín from Todas Noticias and members of the team from Crónica TV, the outlets reported.
Security Minister Patricia Bullrich promptly condemned the violence, saying the leftist groups and Chilean citizens residing in Argentina who started the riots “choose violence, and this path is dangerous and uncontrollable.”
Bullrich went on to blame national Unidad Ciudadana deputy Gabriela Cerruti and presidential candidate and national deputy of the Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores party, Nicolás Del Caño of inciting violence in comments made earlier in the week that called on Argentina to rise up like their neighbouring Chileans were.
“We are deciding to continue defending the peace and tranquility of our society, and we firmly believe in the law against those who want to create chaos,” she wrote in a tweet Monday night.
Authorities in Buenos Aires confirmed six people were detained, believed to be associated with anarchist groups, according to reporting from La Nación, who will be questioned by the Justice Department Tuesday.