Thousands of people are using social networks to mobilize a huge march Thursday night against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, organizing what they hope will be the country’s biggest anti-government protest in more than a decade.
Angered by rising inflation, violent crime and high-profile corruption, and afraid Fernandez will try to hold onto power indefinitely by ending constitutional term limits, the protesters plan to bang pots and march on the iconic obelisk in Argentina’s capital. Protests also are planned in plazas nationwide and outside Argentine embassies and consulates around the world.
The protests known as cacerolazos hold deep symbolism for Argentines, who recall all too well the country’s economic debacle of a decade ago. The “throw them all out” chants of that era’s pot-banging marches forced presidents from office and left Argentina practically ungovernable until Fernandez’s late husband, Nestor Kirchner, assumed the presidency in 2003.
The current president’s supporters sought to ignore two of the protests this year, but with the latest effort promising to turn out huge numbers, her loyalists have come out in force. They dismiss the protesters as part of a wealthy elite, or beholden to discredited opposition parties, and misled by news coverage from media companies representing the country’s most powerful economic interests.