Buenos Aires rocked by clashes over Milei reforms

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Riot police in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters outside Congress, where lawmakers are debating austerity reforms.

Protesters – who say the measures will harm millions of Argentines – threw petrol bombs and stones and set one car on fire.

A number of people were injured, with local media describing the scene as a “battlefield” on Wednesday.

The reform package proposed by the right-wing president Javier Milei Revitalizing the country’s weak economy includes declaring an economic emergency, cutting pensions and weakening labor rights.

The measures are opposed by left-wing political parties, trade unions and social organizations.

A person wearing a mask and hoodie stands with his fist clenched in the air in front of a fire during violent protests in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaA person wearing a mask and hoodie stands with his fist clenched in the air in front of a fire during violent protests in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Police used tea gas and water cannons on protesters, who in turn threw petrol bombs and stones (Reuters)

Police spray demonstrators during a protest near the National CongressPolice spray demonstrators during a protest near the National Congress

Clashes broke out as demonstrators tried to make their way to Congress (Reuters)

A car burns during a protest near the National CongressA car burns during a protest near the National Congress

Two vehicles set on fire, including that of a news organization (Reuters)

Clashes broke out as demonstrators tried to enter Congress through fences, with demonstrators throwing rocks at officers who pepper-sprayed them.

Opposition observers and MPs reportedly said dozens of protesters and a handful of MPs received medical attention. At least five opposition MPs in the crowd were hospitalized, lawmaker Cecilia Moreau told AFP news agency.

Police later pushed back protesters, who reportedly set fire to two vehicles, including that of a news organization.

“We cannot believe that in Argentina we are discussing a law that will set us back 100 years,” Fabio Nunez, a 55-year-old protesting lawyer, was quoted as saying by AFP.

President Milei’s office released a statement thanking security forces for suppressing what it described as “terrorists” attempting to stage a coup.

A man receives help during clashes with policeA man receives help during clashes with police

Dozens of protesters and a handful of MPs have reportedly received medical attention (EPA)

Debate on the bill in the Senate is expected to continue late Wednesday, with senators expected to vote on it.

The divisive bill was approved by the House of Representatives in April with significant changes.

If approved in the Senate, it will return to the lower hours for final approval.

Mr Milei came to power in 2023 after promising to take a chainsaw to government spending.

While on the campaign trail, he even brandished a chainsaw while giving a speech to symbolize his determination to do so.

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