So this is how it looked last night at the Obelisk which is about 6 blocks from my office about 2 hours after I got out of work, with 800,000 – 1m estimated protesters. I have never seen anything like it, ever. In my life. And this was just one area of Buenos Aires that had 8N protests, (or Nov. 8), over the de facto ban on buying dollars and a possible bid to overhaul the constitution that would allow Cristina Fernandez to run for a third term (kinda sounds like NYC and Bloomberg). Fernandez’s popularity has fallen to ~30% from 54% in the last year, with 30,000 apparently protesting outside of the Presidential Palace, Casa Rosada.
I received an email from the U.S. state dept. “As has been widely publicized, a “Cacerolazo” focused on a range of domestic issues and generally directed against the Argentine government is anticipated for November 8, 2012. The activity is scheduled to be in the evening hours, with the Plaza de Mayo and possibly also the area around the Obelisk as likely main gathering points. While it seems that the activity will be focused in Buenos Aires, similar demonstrations also may take place in other cities in the country. It is also possible that groups supporting the government will stage counter manifestations. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests,or demonstrations.”
So it seemed to be a good idea to try to duck out of work a little early. Needless to say, given that there were power outages expected and I left before it got too nuts, it took about 2 hours to get out of downtown. There were protests in my neighborhood as well, but they all seemed peaceful, with people banging on pots and pans. Don’t really know how this chick is going to get elected again. But she’s on TV today, blathering about the ineptitude of her detractors with her perfectly dyed burgundy hair.
The protesters represent the “middle class” who have been largely stepped on by the Govt., which seems to fund itself at their expense. My coworker told me that the unions have seen 30% pay increases for 2 years in a row, fueled by rampant inflation, with no such boost for the middle class, and now the President wants to abolish term limits. So they march in protest.