Thousands of people gathered in streets and squares across Argentina last night to protest against the recent hikes in utility tariffs.
Protesters banged pots and pans, blew whistles, and honked car horns in a ‘cacerolazo‘-style demonstration made famous during the country’s 2001 economic crisis and repeated on several occasions in recent years.
Gas, electricity, and water prices have soared in recent months after the government reduced or removed subsidies that had kept utility bills contained for more than a decade. The hikes have caused problems for many, particularly low-income households, cultural and sports centres, small businesses, and independent theatres.
Resistance to the measure has increased in recent weeks as demand for heating rose in the unusually cold months of May and June, causing some gas bills to climb by more than 1,000% compared to last year. Last week, a Federal Court in La Plata ordered the gas hikes be suspended due to their impact on the population. The government appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court, but also announced that gas increases would be capped at 400%, a backtrack still not considered enough by many.
Consumer organisations, opposition movements, and social groups led the call for last night’s demonstration. Protesters demanded President Mauricio Macri annul the tariff hikes and called on Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren to resign over his handling of the affair and the conflict of interest due to his ownership of shares in Shell.
The Indy joined the central protest at the Obelisco and here we share some images from a noisy night in the rain.