Dead teacher paralyses country


Summary

Protest marches held in all major Argentine cities brought the country to a standstill after a high school chemistry teacher from the southern province of Neuquen was killed during a demonstration last week.

Carlos Fuentealba, a 41-year-old teacher, died on Thursday, a day after he was hit in the head by a tear gas cartridge when police broke up a teachers' protest and roadblock in Neuquen.

In the capital, Buenos Aires, workers at banks, hospitals, government offices, and public transportation joined the strike for one hour on Monday afternoon.

Teachers and thousands of their students and other supporters marched on Neuquen's government offices in the centre of the city.

Many public-sector workers are currently seeking higher salaries in Argentina to keep pace with inflation at nearly 10 percent last year and the death of Carlo Fuentealba has further deepened the conflict.

The crowd chanted "Murder, murder!" and a small group of men armed with batons and flares began attacking the barriers police had erected earlier to contain the march.

The violence many attribute to police last week in Neuquen has drawn the scorn of the nation, and it was thousands that filled out the Plaza de Mayo – Buenos Aires' main town square.

In Neuquen, the home of Carlo Fuentealba's family and friends, another protest was being held.

They blame the Gov. Jorge Sobisch, who ordered police to break up the road blocks and marches.

Mr Fuentealba's death has further complicated a bid by Mr Sobisch to run for president in October against popular President Nestor Kirchner.

Recent polls showed Jorge Sobisch with support in the single digits.

"In the country we are marching against the repression, denouncing the death, the assassination of our companion Carlos Fuenteabla. Right now the governor is reprimanding the workers in Salta. Here, we are saying, 'Enough to the repression of any worker'," secretary of the local teachers union, Gustavo Aguirre, said.

Further north, in the province of Salta, there were yet more protests. Teachers there have also been striking for weeks, and claim they too have been turned on by the police.

Many of the demonstrators carried posters showing family pictures of Carlos Fuentealba.

Halfway during the march, some of the demonstrators attempted to break into government offices but were fended off by police who launched tear gas at them from within the building.

Some of the protesters responded by throwing rocks and trying to kick down a police barrier.

Local media report one teacher was hospitalised for gas inhalation and two police officers were injured in the clash.


Protest marches held in all major Argentine cities brought the country to a standstill after a high school chemistry teacher from the southern province of Neuquen was killed during a demonstration last week.

Carlos Fuentealba, a 41-year-old teacher, died on Thursday, a day after he was hit in the head by a tear gas cartridge when police broke up a teachers' protest and roadblock in Neuquen.

In the capital, Buenos Aires, workers at banks, hospitals, government offices, and public transportation joined the strike for one hour on Monday afternoon.

Teachers and thousands of their students and other supporters marched on Neuquen's government offices in the centre of the city.

Many public-sector workers are currently seeking higher salaries in Argentina to keep pace with inflation at nearly 10 percent last year and the death of Carlo Fuentealba has further deepened the conflict.

The crowd chanted "Murder, murder!" and a small group of men armed with batons and flares began attacking the barriers police had erected earlier to contain the march.

The violence many attribute to police last week in Neuquen has drawn the scorn of the nation, and it was thousands that filled out the Plaza de Mayo – Buenos Aires' main town square.

In Neuquen, the home of Carlo Fuentealba's family and friends, another protest was being held.

They blame the Gov. Jorge Sobisch, who ordered police to break up the road blocks and marches.

Mr Fuentealba's death has further complicated a bid by Mr Sobisch to run for president in October against popular President Nestor Kirchner.

Recent polls showed Jorge Sobisch with support in the single digits.

"In the country we are marching against the repression, denouncing the death, the assassination of our companion Carlos Fuenteabla. Right now the governor is reprimanding the workers in Salta. Here, we are saying, 'Enough to the repression of any worker'," secretary of the local teachers union, Gustavo Aguirre, said.

Further north, in the province of Salta, there were yet more protests. Teachers there have also been striking for weeks, and claim they too have been turned on by the police.

Many of the demonstrators carried posters showing family pictures of Carlos Fuentealba.

Halfway during the march, some of the demonstrators attempted to break into government offices but were fended off by police who launched tear gas at them from within the building.

Some of the protesters responded by throwing rocks and trying to kick down a police barrier.

Local media report one teacher was hospitalised for gas inhalation and two police officers were injured in the clash.