Five deputies hospitalized in crackdown against protesters

People opposing the Ley Bases in and around Congress were subjected to rubber bullets and tear gas by multiple security forces

Ignacio Petunchi

Argentina’s Naval Police threw tear gas at people in the protests against the controversial Ley Bases in front of the Congress, including journalists and five Unión por la Patria who had to be hospitalized on Wednesday. Meanwhile, senators were discussing the legislation in the upper house.

The City Police and at least four federal security forces — including the Military, Naval, Federal, and Airport Security — participated in the operation implementing Security Minister Patricia Bullrich’s security protocol. One person was reportedly detained, although a spokesperson for the Security Ministry said the final count would be published later in the day. 

Deputies Eduardo Valdés, Carlos Castagnetto, Leopoldo Moreau, Juan Manuel Pedrini, Carolina Yutrovic, and Luis Basterra were taken to the Santa Lucía Hospital. They were then taken to the Instituto del Quemado — a medical center for burn victims — and they will remain in observation for a week, a spokesperson for Valdés told the Herald, due to the gas “burning your eyes and your skin.”

The descriptions of symptoms, as well as photographs taken at the scene, match with a U.S.-made combination of OC gas (pepper spray) and CS gas (tear gas), which made its debut in Argentina during the protests over the discussion of the first version of the Ley Bases.

The repression began with a joint front of the Federal Police and Naval Police that tried to clear the crowd that had already taken Entre Rios Avenue, one block below the Congress. The CELS human rights NGO said in a post on X that the repressive operation was “escalating disproportionately.” “Security forces are using rubber bullets, hydrant trucks, tear gas MK- 9 and there are PNA troops carrying firearms,” they wrote.

Military Police officers on motorbikes were seen shooting rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Demonstrators set a car belonging to the Cadena 3 radio station on fire in the intersection of the Yrigoyen and Solís streets.

Photographer Gala Abramovich, who was at the intersection between Yrigoyen and Entre Ríos, said the combination of the gas and the water thrown by the fire trucks, created a “steam” that filled people’s eyes with the gas. 

“All the photographers who were there and the Human Rights people [members of the Provincial Memory Commission NGO] were gassed, so we couldn’t see anymore and had to run away from where we were,” said Abramovich.

“[Deputy Carlos] Castagnetto could barely breathe,” UxP deputy Cecilia Moureau told the press. “It seems that [the government] is about to declare war on the Argentine people today. A very sad day for democracy. Beyond what is happening inside the Senate, what is happening outside is terrible. If you go around the demonstration, people are crying and asking for an end to this. They are scared and they are sad.”

A video of a line of Naval Police officers stepping over a woman who was lying on the street went viral. Another video of the Naval Police throwing copious amounts of tear gas at an elderly woman, who was being embraced by a male demonstrator, circulated on social media.

The C5N TV channel interviewed the woman after the attack, sitting down on the sidewalk. She recounted that she had dropped her cell phone and, when a female police officer was about to give it to her, another officer gassed her. 

“I know who he is. I saw his face,” she said. 


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald