BUENOS AIRES – An estimated 150,000 people packed the Argentine capital’s emblematic Plaza de Mayo on Thursday to denounce the economic program of conservative President Mauricio Macri.
Members of various unions, political parties and grassroots groups came together for a mobilization organized by the CTA labor organization.
Groups of marchers snarled traffic as they made their way to the central square from various points in Buenos Aires.
The event comes a week ahead of the date set by Argentina’s main labor federation, the Confederacion General del Trabajo (CGT), for the first general strike of Macri’s 15-month-old government.
The CGT signaled March 7 that it would call for the general strike, but a delay in naming the date prompted the CTA to convene what turned out to be the fifth mass protest this month with the aim of maintaining pressure on the government.
The demonstrations have drawn not only workers and political activists, but owners of small and medium-sized businesses as well.
Both unemployment and poverty have worsened since Macri took office in December 2015, while inflation exceeded 40 percent last year, due in part to the government’s decision to impose whopping increases in utility rates.
The CGT says that government policies have had the effect of favoring imports at the expense of domestic firms, especially small and mid-sized manufacturers.
More than 30 percent of Argentines live below the poverty line, according to official figures released this week.