(AFP) – Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in the Argentine capital Friday to protest talks between the government and the IMF amid fresh public anger over a hike in utility prices.
Even as demonstrators gathered on Plaza de Mayo to bring political heat to bear on President Mauricio Macri for vetoing curbs on electricity, gas and water costs on Thursday, his finance minister was announcing painful new measures designed to reassure the markets.
Nicolas Dujovne announced $780 million worth of public spending cuts at a press conference at the government’s Casa Rosada palace.
Among the targets of the cuts were technical assistance agreements with universities, labor agreements, and perks such as the use of state cars, travel and bonuses, the finance minister said.
The march had begun on May 28 from across the South American country’s 23 provinces, culminating in the mass protest in Plaza de Mayo. Demonstrators carried banners declaring “Bread and Work” and “Out with the IMF.”
“There should already be a general strike. They cannot distract us with the World Cup or with Messi,” said Pablo Moyano, one of the leaders of the main CGT union.
The march was called by the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy (CTEP) which groups half a million people without registered employment.
The leadership is close to the Catholic hierarchy and Pope Francis, a former archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Its leader Juan Grabois said that given a widening gap between the middle class and the poor, “Argentina is unviable and the people will rebel.”