INTRODUCTION: The military government in Argentina had warned the National Confederation of General Workers' Union (CGT) that it would not approve a planned protest against unemployment.
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (VISNEWS - JORGE CASAL)
GV Police searching union marchers
GV PAN Unionists chanting
GV PULL BACK LV Crowd and saluting
SV Unionists remonstrating with each other
GV Helicopter TILT DOWN Mass meeting with priest conducting service
SV PULL BACK TO LV Priests conducting service (2 shots)
SV Crowd wearing arm bands with insignia
SV Police mingling with crowd
GV Police march with batons drawn moving towards marchers
Police dragging out unionists and pummelling them (2 shots)
SV PAN Police taking beaten unionist away
LV Demonstrators and police in street
Background: INTRODUCTION: The military government in Argentina had warned the National Confederation of General Workers' Union (CGT) that it would not approve a planned protest against unemployment. And when the demonstration went ahead on Saturday (7 November), police intervened to bring the protest to an abrupt halt.
SYNOPSIS: Union leaders organised the demonstration to protest against steeply-rising unemployment. The Confederation of General Workers' Union is largely led by Peronists, followers of the former President, the late Juan Peron, whose influence has been strong for several decades. The military has been in power in Argentina since 1976 when it overthrew Peron's widow, Maria Estella Peron. In the past five years, trade unions have found it hazardous to operate under the hand of the ruling junta.
The march ended with a Mass conducted by Roman Catholic priests. Leading critics of the Junta have accused the church of not voicing opinions on alleged human rights' violations in the country. For the unions, the demonstration was risky: in recent years, six of its leaders have been arrested, including Secretary-General Saul Ubaldindi, in July after an abortive strike which only 20 per cent of the work force observed. But, this time, a political alliance backing the strike a described it as the beginning of a general mobilisation to convince the Junta that elections must held.
Recently, the Junta has given hints of planning to hold elections but under strict conditions, keeping out Peronists and Socialists. But the five main parties have already indicated they will reject the official guidelines.
The police confirmed Interior Minister Horacio Liendo's warning that the march would not be allowed. Police first mingled with the protesters, then dragged some out and began beating them. The Junta, consistently accused of torture and murder by the international human rights' agency, Amnesty, has justified its actions as the means of combating terrorism.
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