September 23, 2014
Government allies question anti-picket bill
An anti-picket bill submitted earlier this week by Kirchnerite MPs has turned it difficult for allies to stay loyal to the federal government this time. Social leader Luis D’Elía who has a history of pickets, considered organizations should have been consulted about the project. The Legal and Social Studies Center (CELS) commanded by pro-government journalist Horacio Verbitsky warned about a “setback” in the right to protest.
“At first, the project sounds bad. I have not read it yet. They should have asked us what we think about the issue,” D’Elía told reporters today adding social organizations should have been called to debate on the bill that aims at controlling street protests.
“There must be a debate. 50 guys can’t just go and block roads to thousands of people. One thing is that 100 guys block the Panamericana highway stopping a million and another thing are social protests. We must think about it and set a conflict protocol,” the ex deputy secretary of social habitat during the Néstor Kirchner administration stated.
According to Luis D’Elía, the picket as a protest method has changed its nature over the past years.
“When we picketed, factories were closed and there were millions of unemployed,” the head of the MILES political organization explained alluding to the protests he led specially during the 90’s, a neoliberal decade that resulted in Argentina's 2001-2002 crisis and historic default.
Meanwhile, the CELS held a more radical position regarding the 34-article bill that seeks to create “precise rules of communal living, ” obliging organizations to provide the Police with information on the rally not less than 48 hours ahead of the protest, among other points in the project.
In a press release, the center headed by Verbitsky in fact questioned the obligation to notify the Police as well as the categorization of some protests as “illegitimate.” “The project intents to broaden the limits of state control over the right to protest while cases of violent repression during demonstrations persist,” the text reads and adds: “A setback regarding social protest standards that have been built over the past years.”