A confrontation between Argentine authorities and anti-government protesters, incensed by President Javier Milei’s economic measures, reached a boiling point on Wednesday. As tensions flared, police forcefully dispersed protesters blocking the capital’s crucial thoroughfare.Milei became the focal point of protests by social organizations in Buenos Aires, resulting in the arrest of 11 individuals and leaving at least six people injured. Protesters voiced their opposition to the economic austerity measures implemented by the president and demanded food for community kitchens.Police on Wednesday removed hundreds of activists from Argentine social organizations who disrupted traffic during a protest on one of Buenos Aires’ main avenues, Avenida 9 de Julio, defying Javier Milei’s government protocol prohibiting street blockades. It is estimated that approximately 4,000 people were involved in the protest.Secretary of Security of the City of Buenos Aires and Chief of Police Diego Kravetz told LN+ channel, “When we saw that the dialogue was fruitless, because there was no intention to stop blocking the avenues, what we did was to start acting to clear (avenue) 9 de Julio.” Using water cannons from riot control vehicles, the capital’s police sprayed water at protesters from the Unión Trabajadores de la Economía Popular (UTEP) and the Polo Obrero, who marched along Avenida 9 de Julio in protest against the far-right president’s economic policies. Officers pushed back and dispersed those advancing on the roadway.At least eleven people were detained during the operation, according to Buenos Aires Minister of Justice and Security Waldo Wolff. Wolff spoke to Todo Noticias news channel and said, “There were eleven detainees, eight police officers injured, two journalists injured…what we did was arrest them based on what is established in the Criminal Procedure Code of the city of Buenos Aires.”Wolff warned that the police would act as many times as necessary to clear any public roadblocks, as the law requires. He also emphasized a commitment to fairness in handling the situation. Wolff stated that, if a similar protest were to occur again, law enforcement would ensure that the law is upheld.The protests stem from Milei’s attempt to carry out his reforms through his controversial Decree 70/2023, titled “Bases for the reconstruction of the Argentine economy,” in addition to the “Bases and Starting Points for the Liberty of Argentines” omnibus bill. Milei, a self proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” pledged to reform the Argentinian economy through shock therapy, severe austerity and privatization. The decree attempts to deregulate major sectors of the Argentine economy, including the energy and transportation sector, in addition to allowing for the privatization of state companies. It also imposes severe fines for piqueteros, or protesters, who blocks roadways. 

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