Patricia Bullrich did not give up her role and within a few hours she was able to transfer the tension experienced throughout Wednesday inside the Chamber of Deputies to the streets. More than an operation, the Minister of Security has put a repressive circus around the Congress. The Prefecture, the Gendarmerie and the Federal Police deliberately and forcefully confronted a group of militant and leftist groups – about seven thousand people, according to the organizers – who gathered to reject the treatment of the omnibus bill The cutting of the intersection of Entre Ríos and Rivadavia could be reduced through dialogue to at least a few lanes, but the forces decided not to appoint an interlocutor and around half past six in the afternoon, they continued. First they cornered them, then they surrounded them on all four sides – with all the parade of fire hydrants and motorized vehicles – and finally they hit them. They fired pepper spray directly into the eyes of many protesters, including national representative Alejandro Vilca, who a few minutes later left the area accompanied by his colleagues in the block. Later, hundreds of self-assembled people arrived at the Plaza, with pots and pans and homemade signs denouncing the Government’s change. Some of them were arrested in the evening during a series of manhunts by the PFA. At the time of going to press, there are at least six prisoners – two men and four women, one of whom is a member of the UCR -, all under the classic scary figure of “resistance to authority.” Juan Grabois and his front Patria Grande also joined in solidarity with what they considered “disproportionate intimidation of peacefully mobilized citizens.”
“We blocked two roads when the prefecture advanced to Entre Ríos. We were surprised, some of us were sitting on the asphalt. When I want to get up I have them on me. We tried to retreat, but they still continue to hit,” Celeste Fierro, an MST lawmaker from Buenos Aires, told Página/12.
Fierro received the same shock as Vilca: pepper spray directly in the eyes. The representative, who was prevented by a second development, in Rivadavia, told this medium: “When we saw the images of the operation, it seemed too much for us and we decided to come down from the Chamber to support the mobilization , who was quite calm. When I stepped on the road they started to advance. I shouted to them “I’m a deputy, stop” but it was useless. Under the shields they beat me with sticks and at one point I received a pepper spray to the head. It’s embarrassing, just like what happened inside the facility.”
The scene reminded him, added Vilca, of the beatings given by the Federal to many deputies during the suppression of December 2017 in the movement that rejected the pension reform of Mauricio Macri at that time. “Adjustment never closes without repression,” he reflected. Bullrich, as now, is the minister of that place.
In that turn, also fell the first prisoner of the day, a protester of Chilean origin who does not belong to any organizations. In the interim, moreover, the PFA has developed a group of retired women who appear every Wednesday at the Deputies annex. Some suffer from decompensation. “We’re scared, they’ve never stopped us like this,” said Nancy, from the Coordinating Table of Retirees and Pensioners.
Stick and circus
Polo Obrero, MST, Barrios de Pie and various picket groups from FIT participated in the mobilization, as well as self-convened groups from culture, Conicet and the human rights sector. The idea of some was to create some kind of open road radio, but it didn’t last long. The demonstration started after noon and ended in the evening. The organizers estimated that within a few hours of mobilization about seven thousand people were around.
Sometimes, the operation deployed by Bullrich is more than the protesters. After the crackdown, a Dantesque scene describes what happened: a cordon of federal police, gendarmes and prefects cornered a group of militants in the square. More than a hundred uniformed men, one after another, formed a kind of Indian line, which, like a corralito, tried to corner them on the sidewalk. Many of the militants got in and laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation. At that time, the image of a Genadermería inspector with a libertarian inscription was already circulating on the militants’ cell phones.
“The only thing Patricia is looking for is a hit to create a circus, there is no reason to do what has been done,” a high official in Buenos Aires told this media. The City Police – again – is relegated to the background of its own jurisdiction.
“People are doing nothing. An operation is being done to spread fear. So that people don’t act. We don’t want fear and we will go where we have to,” said Grabois from Congress.
Starting at eight o’clock in the evening, a group of self-assembled people took over the corners next to the Congress. Casserole and homemade signs in hand, hundreds came to reject the session. “I am very angry at how they sold the country to us,” protested Alicia, who went to Congress with her colleagues from the Almagro Assembly, which was formed in 2001. “This is an attack on sovereignty,” added Victoria. a young surgeon from Tucumán who works in the private sector and is “proudly trained at a public university.” Most of the ideas of the self-proclaimed people are along the same lines: they are there to protect what they consider to be the rights of the subjects that are at risk under the new Government.
When the Gendarmerie began to withdraw, many began to celebrate. Force trucks began to leave via Rivadavia, escorted by the PFA. It was like a military parade, and they received a corresponding salute. “I know/ I know/ that the caste/ is taken care of by the police,” they shouted at them.
At that moment, the road was already roaring, and the PFA swung into action, taking the four women into custody. “I sat on the floor to sing the anthem and they took me away,” one of them told C5N, as they took him away. Around midnight, another man was arrested. “My name is Sebastián Alejandro Moreno,” he said before being put in the patrol car.