A pensioners’ protest for more adequate retirement funds got out of hand today when police removed protesters, most of an advanced age, using force and a water cannon, even, after they refused to clear one of the car lanes they were blocking.
Corte Parcial en Puente Pueyrredon hacia Caba Demoras en Av Mitre desde Avellaneda pic.twitter.com/eVa4LdjnUP
— Solo Tránsito (@solotransito) August 16, 2016
“Pueyrredón Bridge towards the City of Buenos Aires partially blocked; delays on Avenida Mitre from Avenida Avellanada.”
The protest was headed by the Independent Movement of Retirees and Pensioners (MIJP) and took place on the Pueyrredón Bridge. The demonstration was a response to the 14.16 percent increase in pension funds announced in September: the protesting retirees argue that a 30 percent at minimum is needed. Pagina 12 reports that the head of the Independent Retirees’ Movement, Mariano Sánchez, believes that, “It is an embarrassment that a retiree receives no more than AR $4,900. And they want to give us a mere 14.16 percent when the inflation is sucking so much more money out of our pockets.”
According to local press, federal police initially asked protesters to free one of the lanes of the bridge to allow traffic to pass. The lack of compliance would have prompted police to forcefully disperse the demonstration completely. This is the latest of a series of protests to end in conflict and use of force by the police.
On the 31st of June, a protest turned into a violent squabble between police and protesters fed up with a perceived lack of action by authorities against kidnappings and attempted kidnappings in the Ituzaingó neighborhood of Buenos Aires Province.
A National Flag Day protest on July 20th in the city of Rosario also turned violent when protesters were prevented from accessing the square where President Mauricio Macri was addressing the public. The quarrel between police and protesters ended with various injuries, most prominently that of Evita Movement leader, Eduardo Toniolli.
A retirees’ funds’ bill passed by the Macri administration was recently enacted. It seeks to readjust the amount of money pensioners receive from the government, after years of gross government mismanagement of retirement funds. Basically, retired Argentines have been chronically shortchanged when it comes to receiving their retirement funds — many simply haven’t gotten any and many others have been given sums far below what they need to live comfortably. Although the new bill has guaranteed many retirees will receive some money, many believe that amount is still insufficient due to high inflation.