Union clash leaves one dead, activists stage protests across the City

Different left-wing party demonstrators marched through downtown Buenos Aires to the Constitución train station as a way of protesting the death of a young Partido Obrero militant, but a strong police operative prevented them from entering the station, where they had planned to stage a “symbolic takeover.”

Led by the head of the left-wing Quebracho organization, Fernando Esteche, two hundred militants belonging to the former and to the Partido Obrero marched with flags and signs. Meanwhile, traffic in the City collapsed thanks to the different blocks staged by police during rush hour.

The goal of the police was to prevent demonstrators from entering the train station, and as part of the operative, hydrant trucks were made available to them.

The police barricades forced protestors to carry out their rally in Constitución square, in front of the station. This time, no incidents were registered.

Yesterday afternoon, a 23-year-old man died upon arriving at the Argerich Hospital, and a 56-year-old woman was gravely injured as a consequence of an attack attributed to members of the railway workers union, who clashed with former workers of the Roca Railway and leftist militants.

The young man, identified as Mariano Ferreyra, was a Partido Obrero militant, and was shot in the torax, while the woman, identified as Elsa Rodríguez, who belongs to the same organization, underwent surgery after being shot in the head and remains in critical condition.

The head of the SAME emergency medical assistance service, Alberto Crescenti, confirmed that the two injured, along with another young man shot twice in the leg, were taken to Argerich Hospital in a private ambulance. When Rodríguez arrived at the hospital, Crescenti assured: “The woman is agonizing.” However, the young man who was shot in the leg was out of danger.

After news of the young man’s death broke out, subway workers staged a one-hour strike to protest against “union bureaucracy,” as delegate Claudio Dellacarbonara stated, and the CTA umbrella union called a general strike for today, along with a march to Plaza de Mayo square at 5 pm, as a way of repudiating the violent incidents.

The clashes had occurred earlier yesterday at the intersection of Pedro de Luján and Santa Elena streets, in the Buenos Aires City neighbourhood of Barracas, after picketers protested on the tracks of the Roca Railway.

The incidents took place when a group of outsourced workers were protesting between the Avellaneda and Hipólito Yrigoyen stations, demanding to be incorporated as permanent employees.

The picketers, who were backed by the Workers Party, Quebracho left-wing organization, and the Theresa Rodríguez Movement, tried to interrupt the train service, but were attacked by union workers belonging to the Railway Union, led by José Pedraza.

The protestors have been complaining that they are not supported in their claims by the railway union, aligned with the so-called “gordos” (“fat ones”); however, this has been an on-going conflict.

Outsourced workers agreed that the attackers “were carrying Railway Union flags” and were accompanied by Racing football club hooligans. They also complained that police officers that were present at the scene “stopped acting.”

The Railway Operations Management Unit SA (UGOFE), which operates the Roca train lines, issued a communiqué, stating it did not assume responsibility for the violent events registered in Barracas, and called for the group of protesters to “meditate” on their actions.

“The UGOFE regretted the consequences suffered in the disturbances produced in the Barracas area and did not assume responsibility regarding said violent events,” the company announced.

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