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Argentina’s strike: Unions and streets protest Javier Milei’s austerity measures | World News – Times of India

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In a defiant move, Argentina’s President Javier Milei faces a countrywide backlash with a one-day general strike challenging his austere economic overhaul. Spearheaded by the largest union, CGT, the protest saw thousands march in Buenos Aires and beyond, marking a stark resistance against Milei’s union-targeting decree and sweeping legislative proposals.
Milei’s controversial decree
Since his recent ascent to power, the libertarian economist turned president has agitated the status quo, issuing a controversial decree aimed at curbing union power and deregulating the economy. Despite a court’s intervention pausing the labor-related changes, Milei’s omnibus bill looms over Congress, promising drastic reforms across multiple sectors.
The strike’s significance
Huge crowds gathered outside parliament in the heart of Buenos Aires for one of the biggest demonstrations in recent years, heeding the strike called by the South American country’s main labor union, the CGT.
Protesters bore placards reading “The homeland is not for sale” and “Eating is not a privilege” as they marched to the beat of drums and sound of exploding firecrackers and held aloft a giant effigy of Milei.
“We come to defend 40 years of democracy, defend the homeland,” CGT leader Hector Daer told the crowd.
“Walking around with a chainsaw is one thing, governing is another,” he added in reference to Milei’s frequent brandishing of a chainsaw on the campaign trail as a symbol of his envisaged public spending cuts.
The impact of the strike, wrapping up at midnight, remains to be seen. Yet, the backdrop is undeniable – a nation grappling with soaring inflation and economic instability. Political analyst Sergio Berensztein highlights the strike’s deeper implications, suggesting it’s a pivotal moment for union influence in Argentine politics.
Remarkably, this strike, the first in over four years, sets a record as the swiftest mobilization against a president since democracy’s return in 1983. The strike’s timing and scale underscore a significant sentiment against Milei’s drastic policy shifts, even as his initial voter support appears undiminished.
“For union leaders what is at stake is really a lot. If they don’t complain, their bargaining capacity is going to drop dramatically and their influence in politics is going to dwindle,” Buenos Aires-based political analyst Sergio Berensztein told AP.
Government responds
As protesters flood the capital, voicing fears over eroding worker rights and increased poverty, the government remains steadfast. Milei’s administration, labeling strike organizers as antagonists of democratic change, warns of legal actions against traditional protest tactics like roadblocks.
Economic turbulence ahead
The unfolding scenario puts Argentina at a crossroads. With Milei adamant on his reform agenda, including contentious labor decrees and potential privatizations, the nation braces for economic shifts that could redefine its future. As inflation races against devalued currency, Milei’s promise of stability and growth faces its sternest test yet, amidst street protests and legislative hurdles.
(With inputs from agencies)





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