If you intended to have to have a smooth commute to work today, then chances are this is your first day in the country. Chaos on the streets is the norm in the City of Buenos Aires and today is no exception. Since early morning, social organization Barrios de Pie (Neighborhoods on Their Feet) has set up several roadblocks, or piquetes, throughout the capital, demanding job opportunities and the Macri administration take measures to tackle poverty.
The organization also claims it will set up 100 makeshift food stations (ollas populares) where food will be distributed in order to make people’s pressing nutritional needs more visible to the population as a whole.
As of 7 AM Barrios de Pie had already set up a partial blockade in Corrientes and Callao, arguably the favorite intersection of any organization wanting to stage a protest in the City. Other roadblocks will include key intersections around Plaza Once, Retiro, Plaza Flores, Chacarita and Microcentro. “We demand [City of Buenos Aires Mayor] Horacio Rodríguez Larreta solve the city’s marked inequality,” said Barrios de Pie leader Daniel Menéndez.
Barrios de Pie is a social organization that voices the demands of unemployed people on a national level. It was created in 2001 and staunchly supported former President Néstor Kirchner’s government. As an organization, it also provides community services such as food distributions through community bakeries and soup kitchens. It has staged a number of protests and set up food distribution stations throughout the City of Buenos Aires over the last few months to demand government action against swelling poverty numbers.
The protest comes only a day after Barrios de Pie, along with other social organizations, met with General Labor Confederation (CGT) umbrella union leaders in order to coordinate their agendas and evaluate the possibility of a national strike.
“It’s historic that in the workers’ house are thinking of institutionalizing the relationship with informal economy sectors, as the 40 percent of workers who are outside the legal system are the ones suffering this administration’s policies the most,” said leader of Evita social organization, Emilio Persico after the meeting.
Here is a map detailing where the roadblocks will take place today, courtesy of La Nación.
The CGT, as well as the other largest umbrella union in the country, the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA) have warned they may call for a national strike in protest against inflation and unemployment, as well as demanding that the government reopen wage negotiations. On September 23 there will be a key meeting of all the unions under the CGT umbrella and that is when labor leaders will decide how to move forward.