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Thousands march in Buenos Aires demanding solution to social emergency

People demonstrate in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 30 January 2019, to demand solutions to the "social emergency" and no price hikes for gas, electricity and other services. EFE-EPA/ Aitor Pereira

People demonstrate in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 30 January 2019, to demand solutions to the “social emergency” and no price hikes for gas, electricity and other services. EFE-EPA/ Aitor Pereira

EFE

Thousands of people belonging to assorted neighborhood organizations in Buenos Aires marched on Wednesday in the capital’s downtown demanding solutions to the “social emergency” and asking that the prices for electricity, gas and other services not be hiked.

“There’s a brutal and powerful social emergency, where there are very high rates for electricity and gas. We’re demanding a social bottle - a bottle of gas - that is, for the state to subsidize the bottle, which is a very old thing but one that’s still being used a lot,” Pueblo Obrero (Working People) leader Eduardo Eduardo told EFE.

The march began at the Obelisk and moved down some of the city’s central streets until the protesters got to the Transportation and Energy Ministries, near the Casa Rosada, the presidential residence, with marchers chanting slogans against the government of Mauricio Macri and calling for improvements in the most disadvantaged zones of the city and around the country.

“It’s a government that clearly is fixed in a social class, the class of those who live by the labor of others, the class of the speculators. They don’t look at the neighborhoods, they don’t know where they are, and so we from the neighborhoods are coming to the capital, we’re coming to bring them our demands and we’re finding that there are repressive measures,” Goliboni declared.

In addition to their demands regarding electricity and gas, the marchers asked for a “public works and housing plan,” which the Pueblo Obrero leader said is “much needed” given that “every time it rains there is flooding because there are no public works” to shunt away the water.

The problem exists in areas where the majority of the “poor people (live), in very regrettable social conditions, without work and without any chance of getting it,” he said.

Present at the march were members of several organizations who besides asking for more employment expressed their discontent with current pay levels, although - as one of the representatives of Barrio en Pie (Neighborhood on Its Feet), Ofelia Gongora, said - they are not sure if the government is listening to their demands.

“I have no hope because they should have been implementing (the social measures) some time ago and they’re not doing so. They can’t imagine the amount of poverty there is inside the neighborhoods and the (constantly rising prices), and a person who earns 6,000 pesos (about $160) today can’t make it to the end of the month with four kids,” she said.


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