A New Form of Picketing Baffles the Gendarmerie

  • Left Voice | 
  • July 28, 2014

translated from spanish version of
Nació una nueva modalidad de piquete que desconcertó a la Gendarmería

A New Form of Picketing Baffles the Gendarmerie

Workers and Left organizations were planning on impeding traffic with a traditional protest, yet as they were prevented from doing so by security forces they managed to stop traffic via a new methodology.

The new pickets are called “Caravans of Solidarity.” This is the name Lear’s dismissed workers and activists chose on Wednesday at the Mobilization in Panamericana Highway, where they demanded answers to the Buenos Aires province’s government.

This new method of protest arose this morning after the Gendarmerie (Argentinean police) blocked access to the main entrance road that leads to Panamericana Highway. A group of people, who support the workers’ demands, used their own cars to take part in a chain of vehicles. This blockade of vehicles slowed down when it reached Pacheco, where the protest was planned.

This maneuver in fact generated a picket and heavy congestion, leaving the Gendarmerie without recourse. The troops, who had cordoned off an area to prevent entrance to the Panamericana, limited themselves to just recording the numbers of the license plates of the cars that were stopped on the highway. Drivers, who led the “Caravan of Solidarity”, argued that the members of the Gendarmerie were blocking traffic and that their intention was to continue advancing towards the capital city. While discussions with members of the security forces succeeded, another caravan came in from the opposite direction and for a few minutes the Panamericana Highway was blocked entirely.

Is the Caravan of solidarity punishable by law? There is currently a great legal debate on the scope of Article 194 of the Penal Code, which punishes with jail ranging from three months to two years anyone who “prevents or hinders” transportation. Some judges believe that the pickets should be punished but others believe they shouldn’t. There is even a case where Security Secretary Sergio Berni was prosecuted for attempting to prevent a demonstration.

In the case of a “Caravan of Solidarity” the debate is similar. There is a deliberate attempt to disrupt traffic in addition to any traffic tickets for driving at speeds below the minimum allowed and even for parking in a prohibited place as happened in Panamericana with these actions.

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