In an escalation of the clashes last week, serious violence has erupted again between police and protesters outside Congress as the Lower House debates the government’s controversial pension reform bill. Following an intermission and votes on the floor calling for the session to be suspended that did not receive that failed to gather enough support, lawmakers are currently still in session.
Members of the City Police and masked protesters traded volleys of stones, tear gas, paintball pellets and fireworks across the square in front of Congress as lawmakers began to discuss the details of the bill. The violence started when a group of protesters broke through metal barriers and started throwing stones at the City Police. After running battles between protestors and the armed forces that saw them face off at a distance of only meters, the police eventually was able to retake control of the square in front of Congress and began arresting protesters.
As the chaos seemed to escalate, the Border Patrol and Federal Police have now been sent again to the area as well after the incidents.
Instead of the Border Patrol, the City Police had been entrusted with the security operation, marking a transfer of control from the national authorities to the City. An injunction issued by a City judge following a request from from Victory Front (FpV) City Legislator Mariano Recalde and ATE Capital leader Daniel Catalano, stated that police officers couldn’t carry lethal weapons, must not use unmarked cars or undercover police officers and only use rubber bullets as a last resort.
Clear figures of injuries were not immediately available but television images showed injured protesters and journalists as well as various police officers have been taken away from the clashes to receive medical attention as well as injured protesters. In a similar fashion, the number of arrests has not yet been disclosed.