Argentinians protest against ruling family


Banging pots and pans, hundreds of thousands of Argentinians took to the country’s streets on Thursday night in the biggest show of discontent at the ruling Kirchner family since it came to power in 2003.

The biggest of the protests was in the capital, Buenos Aires, with police estimating up to 700,000 people took to the city’s streets.

Government supporters tried to minimise the protest, claiming only 50,000 had showed up.

But television images showed the crowd filling much of the city’s main 14-lane 9 de Julio Avenue and stretching down side avenues towards the Casa Rosada presidential palace in what analysts said was the capital’s biggest protests since the return of democracy in 1983.

Another 20,000 protested outside the president’s official residence in the upmarket Buenos Aires suburb of Olivos, where President Cristina Kirchner spent the evening. Among the banners held up by protesters was one criticising her refurbishment of a bathroom in the residence at the cost of €400,000.

Outside of Buenos Aires hundreds of thousands took to the streets in more than 100 demonstrations in towns and cities across the country to protest rising crime, tightening currency controls and efforts by Mrs Kirchner’s supporters to alter the constitution to allow her stand for a third consecutive term.

Organised by social media, Thursday’s demonstrations were the latest in a series held in recent months as rising discontent at rampant corruption has been stoked by a stalling economy which has exacerbated the government’s shortage of dollars and fuelled capital flight.

Since winning a second term last October Mrs Kirchner has seen her approval rating plunge from 63 per cent to as low as 20 per cent. But she has insisted her government will not be deflected from its current course.