Clashes break out in Buenos Aires as the Senate debates controversial reforms

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Protesters and police clashed outside Argentina’s Congress on Wednesday as senators discussed a controversial reform package that proposes to privatize several state entities in a move critics have branded neoliberal.

Hooded protesters threw rocks and firebombs at officers in Buenos Aires, while police used batons and tear gas. According to broadcaster TN, several cars went up in flames and about twenty suspects were arrested.

The office of Argentina’s far-right, libertarian president Javier Milei congratulated the security forces in a post on

During the congress, senators discussed a reform package proposed by Milei’s government that includes the privatization of several state-owned enterprises, tax breaks for major investors, and labor market and tax reforms.

The left-wing opposition and social movements have denounced the package as neoliberal and unfair, and the government has had to significantly curtail its proposals to gain support in parliament.

Argentina has been plagued by a serious economic crisis for years. Annual inflation recently skyrocketed to nearly 290%, one of the highest levels in the world.

Milei’s government recently cut thousands of public sector jobs, cut subsidies and ended social programs, sparking demonstrations.

Critics say Milei’s harsh austerity program is pushing many people into poverty and endangering the country’s future.

According to the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, about 56% of people in the once-prosperous country live below the poverty line.

South America’s second-largest economy suffers from a bloated state apparatus, low industrial productivity and a large shadow economy that deprives the state of much tax revenue.

Police gather to disperse demonstrators as they demonstrate against the basic law being debated by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpaPolice gather to disperse demonstrators as they demonstrate against the basic law being debated by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Police gather to disperse demonstrators as they demonstrate against the basic law being debated by the National Senate. There were violent clashes with the police. Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Protesters and security forces clashed throughout the afternoon in the vicinity of the National Congress.  Social organizations, left-wing political parties, human rights organizations, neighborhood assemblies and trade unions came together to reject the Basic Law, which is currently being debated in the Senate.  The project includes a labor reform that takes away workers' rights, a change in the pension regime, privatizations of public companies and more.  Daniella Fernandez Realin/ZUMA Press Wire/dpaProtesters and security forces clashed throughout the afternoon in the vicinity of the National Congress.  Social organizations, left-wing political parties, human rights organizations, neighborhood assemblies and trade unions came together to reject the Basic Law, which is currently being debated in the Senate.  The project includes a labor reform that takes away workers' rights, a change in the pension regime, privatizations of public companies and more.  Daniella Fernandez Realin/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

A protester dressed as Argentine President Javier Milei joins a demonstration against the Basic Law being debated by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpaA protester dressed as Argentine President Javier Milei joins a demonstration against the Basic Law being debated by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

A protester dressed as Argentine President Javier Milei joins a demonstration against the Basic Law being debated by the National Senate. There were violent clashes with the police. Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Police gather to disperse demonstrators as they demonstrate against the basic law being debated by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpaPolice gather to disperse demonstrators as they demonstrate against the basic law being debated by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Police gather to disperse demonstrators as they demonstrate against the basic law being debated by the National Senate. There were violent clashes with the police. Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Protesters gathered to demonstrate against the basic law being discussed by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpaProtesters gathered to demonstrate against the basic law being discussed by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Protesters gathered to demonstrate against the basic law being discussed by the National Senate. There were violent clashes with the police. Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Protesters gathered to demonstrate against the basic law being discussed by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpaProtesters gathered to demonstrate against the basic law being discussed by the National Senate.  There were violent clashes with the police.  Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Protesters gathered to demonstrate against the basic law being discussed by the National Senate. There were violent clashes with the police. Paula Acunzo/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

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