BUENOS AIRES – Neighborhood organizations on Tuesday blocked several streets in Buenos Aires, where protesters are demanding that the government halt the increase in public service fees and alleviate hunger and provide dignified jobs.
Called to action by the Barrios de Pie organization and the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy, or Ctep, hundreds of people loudly protested against hikes in water, electricity and gas prices, which rose between 300 percent and 2,000 percent in recent months, according to various unions.
The multiple protests on Tuesday afternoon were concentrated before the Argentine Congress, where the organizations’ leaders hoped to stage a huge demonstration.
“Today’s symbol is 100 soup kitchens against hunger and for dignified work,” Leandro Dapena, a member of Barrios de Pie, told EFE after on Tuesday morning participated in one of the protests near the Casa Rosada presidential residence, complaining that more and more families are going to soup kitchens in the neighborhoods.
He said that the price hikes of recent months, along with growing inflation, which in June stood at 3.1 percent according to government figures, have caused the number of families coming to local soup kitchens to rise from 50 to 150 since Mauricio Macri became president.
“The household economic situation is getting worse because of the government’s measures. Let them take taxes from the rich and put them at the disposal of society,” he said.
Nearby, Lucila Gonzalez, a teacher and Ctep member serving lentils and rice to demonstrators, told EFE that the lower classes are suffering most from “the tariffs, the increase in electricity prices, the layoffs and the lack of health care and education.”
She said that Macri’s government, which considers it necessary to raise public utility costs to be able to spur investment in the energy sector, “is only looking upwards and not to the side, or thinking about others.”