Union leader Hugo Moyano is taking his feud with the Macri administration to the streets, as members of the teamsters union and supporting political and social organizations – baking workers, teachers, both CTA umbrella unions, several social organizations and left-leaning parties – will march through downtown today.
Although protesters argue they are marching against the government’s policies, Moyano’s detractors assure that he is actually “flexing his political muscles” to deter the courts from moving forward regarding the investigations against him and his son Pablo. The investigations concern alleged shady businesses conducted in the teamsters union and the Independiente football club (of which he’s president), and have yet to produce any formal accusations.
In an interview with TV channel TN last night, Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio insisted upon the fact that the government “does not have any influence on the judiciary” and said that “what unites the leaders who are marching is their legal woes.”
The march has also driven a wedge between different factions within the union landscape, which at this point seems almost impossible to reverse. Head honchos from numerous unions have refused to call their workers to join Moyano on the streets, publicly stating that it’s a march of the teamsters union alone.
Since the transportation union workers (key at the time of ensuring the march will have a substantial impact) will not march or strike today, public transport will run normally. However, moving around downtown will be practically impossible, as protesters will march down Av. 9 de Julio toward the stage that has been set up in the intersection with Av. Belgrano. As a result of this, 17 bus lines will change their routes today. The Metrobus has been blocked already, although union leaders have agreed to let it run during the better part of the march.
Moreover, there was no garbage collection yesterday, and there surely won’t be today. Fuel could also be lacking at gas stations, although employees will be on their posts. Attention at state institutions will probably be affected as well, as public sector workers who are members of the ATE (State Worker’s union) union will join the march.
Another factor that will determine which camp will finish the day stronger than when it began depends on how peaceful the march is, and, if violence erupts, who is to blame for it. However (and not coming as a real surprise), representatives from both camps have already come out to anticipate that if anything happens, it’s the other side who will be responsible for it.
“I have conducted many marches and there has never been any incident, unless they were caused by the government,” said Moyano in an interview with CNN. “They do it through intelligence agents so the protests can be smeared,” he added.
The government decided for the City Police to be in charge of security today. This constitutes a signal of a more passive attitude toward the protesters, considering how the protests went when the police together with Border Patrol (Gendarmería) were in charge during the marches against the pension system’s reform in December. The latter had a much more aggressive, prone to repression, attitude.
“The orders the police have are the same as always: to take care of people, both the ones who protest and the people who are circulating,” said City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in an interview with Radio Mitre. “If something happens, the police have been ordered to act,” he added.
The act is set to begin at 3 PM, with speeches by leaders from organizations who are joining the march. Predictably, Moyano will deliver the closing address. He is expected to do so at 5 PM.
Brace yourselves, it will be an intense day.