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International Campaign Against Argentina’s New Anti-Protest Law

The Argentinean government has recently approved a new “security protocol” that prohibits the essential right to protest.

Left Voice

February 25, 2016
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Photo: La Izquierda Diario

This new regulation will be applied in a context where thousands of layoffs and dismissals have taken place, mostly in the public sector – though the private sector has taken advantage of the favorable situation caused by Macri’s pro-CEO government to implement massive layoffs as well. At the same time, Macri has imposed a great increase in gas and energy fees (300%), alongside the climbing inflation rate.

The government seeks to apply austerity measures and make workers pay for the economic crisis. To guarantee this path, it must prevent the development of resistance or class struggle. The Macri government aims to do away with the constitutional right to protest, imposing the same methods of the last dictatorship, granting extraordinary powers to the forces of repression, and violating basic human rights.

In a meeting among provincial legislators, the security minister Patricia Bullrich was able to gain support to approve the new protocol, which imposes no limits on repressive forces; on the contrary, it expands their powers, enables indiscriminate arrests, and even restricts the press’s freedom to cover an eventual repression. This new legislation places passerbyers’ “right to commute” (to pass freely and undisturbed through the sites of protest, roadblocks, etc.) above the right to protest, freedom of expression, and above individuals’ physical integrity.

The terms of this new legislation unmistakably generate conditions for the criminalization of any protest or demonstration. This goes against the National Constitution and all existing human rights agreements.
Myriam Bregman and Nicolás del Caño, the main referents of the Left and Workers’ Front (FIT), denounced the protocol in social media outlets and took part in the strike actions that took place on Wednesday, February 24. .

In Argentina, a national campaign against this protocol is under way, led by important human rights organizations and figures as well as social and political organizations.

An international campaign to denounce the repressive policy of the Argentinean government has also been launched. We need to strengthen international solidarity against this and any further repressive measures and against criminalization of protests.

The petition, translated from Spanish, is reproduced below. To sign on, send your name, location, and position/organization to Left Voice at [email protected].

Petition: Down with the repressive security ‘protocol’ (law) in Argentina. For the fundamental democratic right to protest!

 
Human rights organizations, political parties, workers, activists, and academics in Argentina and around the world are rejecting the new security protocol recently imposed by the government of Mauricio Macri.
 
The new protocol implies that every protest is now a criminal offense, and empowers the Security Forces – the same forces that played an active role in Argentina’s last military dictatorship – to allow or forbid any protests. The criminalization of protests violates several judicial decisions that state the right to demonstrate supersedes any occasional traffic problems that may be caused.
 
This year, on the 40th anniversary of the military coup in Argentina, the Mauricio Macri government has begun a campaign to eliminate an essential human right – the fundamental right to protest and demonstrate. With this new protocol, the government will try to prevent workers from protesting against redundancies or demanding salary increases, or mobilize against power outages and mining projects. This protocol openly defies the constitutional rights of the Argentine people as well as international treaties on human rights.

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