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Argentines march in mass protest at government policies/Falkland Islands

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Argentines march in mass protest at government policies/Falkland Islands

Post  Panda on Fri 9 Nov - 8:46

9 November 2012 Last updated at 02:00

Argentines march in mass protest at government policies

Thousands of protesters surrounded Buenos Aires's landmark obelisk during Thursday's march
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Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, in protest at the government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Opposition activists used social networks to mobilise the march, which they said was one of the biggest anti-government protests in a decade.

Those gathered said they were angry at rising inflation, high levels of crime and high-profile corruption cases.

President Fernandez was re-elected by a landslide to a second term in 2011.

Her approval ratings have since dropped and protests against some of her policies have mounted.

Official figures say inflation is at 12%, but analysts say it is probably much higher.

The International Monetary Fund warned Argentina in September that unless it produced reliable growth and inflation data by December, it could face sanctions.
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Protesters also voiced their objections to restrictions introduced last year, and further sharpened this year, on the purchase of dollars, which have made it harder for Argentines worried about inflation to trade in their currency.

The government says the slowdown of the Argentine economy is the fault of the global financial crisis rather than its policies.

Supporters of President Fernandez say the protests are driven by people from the middle and upper class worried about losing their privileges.

They point to policies supporting the poor, such as cash payments to the unemployed, as the real achievements of her government.

Last edited by Panda on Sun 25 Nov - 17:23; edited 1 time in total

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Falklands: Britain calls on EU to pile pressure on Argentina

Post  Panda on Sun 25 Nov - 17:20

Falklands: Britain calls on European Union to pile pressure on Argentina

Hard-line nationalists ransack shipping office after pelting it with stones as tensions rise between London and Buenos Aires over Falkland islands' status.

Masked protestors throw trash at the entrance of the building where the Shipping Service Maritime Agency has its offices in Buenos Aires. Photo: AP

By Robert Tait

12:18PM GMT 25 Nov 2012

Britain has called on the European Union to pile pressure on Argentina after hard-line nationalists ransacked a shipping office after pelting it with stones and paintballs because it that handles cruises to the Falkland Islands.

The move follows a prolonged period of rising tensions between London and Buenos Aires over the the disputed islands' status.

It came after Foreign Office mandarins accused the Argentinian government of seeking to “strangle” the Falklands’ economy by failing to prevent last Monday’s raid in Buenos Aires, which saw terrified staff flee for their safety. British officials have denounced it as a violation of free shipping and trade.

According to reports, masked men smashed plate glass windows, scrawled graffiti, hurled paintballs and turned over dustbins during the attack on the offices of Argentine Shipping Services.

The raiders told the shipping agents that they would prevent cruise ships from berthing at Buenos Aires, Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn unless the Falklands leg was cancelled.

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No police were on hand to intervene and no subsequent arrests have followed.

The incident prompted two cruise ships, owned by German and Dutch companies, to cancel scheduled stops on the Falklands, triggering angry Foreign Office complaints that they were surrendering to “intimidation”.

It also led to diplomats from the Argentinian embassy in London being summoned to the Foreign Office to receive an angry protest.

British officials believe President Cristina Kirchner’s government is partly responsible for the raid, carried out by a left-wing group known as Quebracho.

They have now pursuing action through the EU and the International Maritime Organisation, arguing that the attack interferes with the free passage of shipping and free trade.

“Part of taking the matter to the EU will be so that the issue can be raised with the World Trade Organisation because that’s a matter of EU competence,” a Foreign Office spokesman said. “Our main concern is that we consider it shameful for a large country like Argentina to strangle a group of islands like the Falklands and that the restriction is what we are trying to raised and have addressed.

Explaining the decision to pursue the matter with the EU, a Foreign Office spokesman said: "The EU is responsible for external trade relations and we are not the only country to have had problems with Argentina acting against international norms - Spain has had problems too. So we hope that, with our EU partners, we can make a case to the European Commission that Argentina is in breach of its commitments to the WTO (World Trade Organisation)."

He added: "We also hope that the travel companies will push back against Argentine pressure. We don't want them to drop the Falkland Islands from their itinerary in cruises to Argentina."

"We have made clear to the Argentine government that we expect it to ensure free passage of shipping, including cruise ships."

Quebracho’s leader Fernando Esteche, justified last week’s raid in a statement, which said: “Cruise liners cannot stop on the islands which they call the Falklands because they are our Islas Malvinas.”

The attack was the latest incident during a campaign by Mrs Kirchner to put the long-running dispute over the Falklands back on the international agenda, which some believe is motivated by a desire to distract attention from her government’s economic problems.

Earlier this year, a P&O ship, the Adonia, and the Carnival’s Star Princess liner were refused entry to Ushuaia on the southern island of Tierra del Fuego because they had visited the Falklands.

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