Union Member’s Killing Spurs General Strike in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES – Roads were blocked and public transportation disrupted on Thursday amid a general strike called by one of Argentina’s two main labor federations to protest the killing of an activist.

Thousands of motorists sat in a kilometers-long backup as CTA members blocked a main thoroughfare on the north side of Buenos Aires.

Shortly after police broke up that blockade, another one began at a spot across town where unionists and activists were gathering to march to the Plaza de Mayo for a rally in front of Congress and the presidential palace.

The city’s metro and commuter rail lines suffered rolling disruptions at the hands of people protesting Wednesday’s shooting death of a member of the Trotskyite Labor Party during a confrontation with militants from a rival union.

Two other Labor Party partisans were wounded in the incident, including a 57-year-old woman listed in critical condition at a Buenos Aires hospital.

Opposition parties and groups representing students and the unemployed accuse President Cristina Fernandez’s government of covering up the culpability of the “union bureaucracy” for Wednesday’s violence, a charge rejected by officials.

The unionists pitted against the Labor Party protesters and other workers on Wednesday are affiliated with Argentina’s other big union combine, the CGT, led by teamsters boss and government ally Hugo Moyano.

Police stood by Wednesday while toughs from the CGT’s railworkers union beat and shot at Labor Party members supporting the protest by current and former contract employees of the commuter rail network, the Trotskyite organization said.

“Murder cannot be the response to a demand from workers,” CTA leader Hugo Yasky said Thursday, denouncing the slaying of Mariano Ferreyra, 23.

Authorities will punish the “material and intellectual” authors of Ferreyra’s death, Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez (no relation to the president) told capital radio stations Thursday. EFE

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