Government warns of intervention by federal forces
Security Secretary Sergio Berni warned yesterday that federal security forces could take action today to break up pickets or roadblocks that will spring up during the strike called by anti-government unions.
“We’ll see tomorrow (today). The last time we had roadblocks everywhere. So we’ll see,” Berni told reporters, asked whether he was planning to intervene to prevent picket lines.
At an improvized news conference on the side of the Pan-American highway, where he supervized a police operative to disperse a roadblock, the Kirchnerite official pointed out that even though “striking is a constitutional right” there is also the right “for everyone to go to work.”
“Everyone wants to (go to work) in peace, without being disturbed, and they don’t want to see this right affected by pickets, threats and extortions,” Berni said.
“We all have the right to strike, but this does not mean that (industrial action) has to include extortion-like attitudes like the ones we saw during the last strike, where they set up picket lines and would not let people go to their places of work in order to generate chaos,” he insisted.
The Security secretary called on union organizers to understand that many do not agree with their methods and to refrain from setting up picket lines.
“We are demanding that you allow the workers go to work if that’s what they want,” he emphasized.
Early in the morning, Berni flew over the Pan-American highway in a helicopter above the Greater Buenos Aires district of Tigre to supervise the police operative against a protest staged by workers of the Lear auto parts firm.
The helicopter arrived at the scene at 8.40am, when Border Guards had already freed up three lanes of the highway that connects the City with Buenos Aires province.
Border Guard officers had already reportedly reached an agreement with the workers at the time Berni arrived at the protest, which that started at 8:10am, arriving at the scene on two school buses.
By then, security forces had called off the 10-minute ultimatum handed to protesters, but remained on site with helmets, shields and police dogs.
“You see what we have to be doing every day. We should be chasing criminals and not groups of protesters. We called them to move to the side (of the highway) in five minutes and they have moved,” Berni told Radio La Red.
Minutes later, he spoke to reporters after stepping down from a motorbike in the 9 de Julio Avenue, where he arrived to disperse another protest.
Herald staff with DyN