Tens of thousands of protesters filled the center of Buenos Aires on Monday for the 20th
Around noon, dozens of trade unions, social movements and left-wing parties gathered on the Plaza de Mayo in front of the Presidential Palace on the occasion of the events of 2001.
On Sunday evening, the same groups held a vigil late into the night
Monday’s protest took place in an economic context very similar to that of 2001: high debt and an agreement with the International Monetary Fund – this time valued at $ 44 billion – which makes Argentines fear that austerity measures are on the way again .
“December 20th is a very important anniversary in Argentina,” Labor Party supporter Gabriel Solano told AFP.
“But 20 years later we are seeing a situation that is more or less the same: large-scale poverty, misery, and another pact with the IMF that threatens people with an adjustment plan.
“We came back here in Plaza de Mayo to say that we don’t want any further adjustment for the people.”
Protesters held up banners denouncing the IMF and beating “conformists” – the politicians who advocate austerity measures to solve the country’s economic problems.
In December 2001, years of rising debt and austerity clashed in a liquidity crisis triggered by a capital flight that led to looting and rioting and within 48 hours President Fernando de la Rua resigned and escaped by helicopter.
His successor Adolfo Rodriguez Saa only lasted a week but still had time to impose the largest default in history: $ 100 billion.
The “Great Crisis” has left an ongoing trauma and constant fear among Argentines about the financial horrors that might happen next in a country with one of the highest inflation rates in the world and 42 percent poverty of 45 million people.
On Sunday, President Alberto Fernandez received the parents, friends and family of the victims of the 2001 event in the Presidential Palace for a tribute and for the unveiling of a plaque with the names of the 39 victims on the entrance gates.
The government also announced this week that a law would soon be submitted to parliament to compensate victims of police repression.