Angry residents armed with guns turned a city park into a battlefield on Friday, attacking migrant squatters and setting their tents on fire in the latest of weeklong clashes that have left four dead.
The squatters, about 1000 migrants mostly from neighbouring Bolivia and Paraguay, had set up tents in the city’s second-largest park in southern Buenos Aires to protest the lack of “decent housing” in the city.
After police gave up trying to clear the park, people from the middle class neighbourhood in the vicinity took matters into their own hands earlier this week and began attacking the squatters, some of them with guns.
“We don’t want a villa miseria (slum) in the park,” shouted some of the angry neighbours as they rushed into the park, while others blocked nearby avenues as part of the protest.
Friday’s violence, caught on national television, left a 19-year-old dead from a shot to the head and about a dozen other people injured, the city’s medical emergency service told the C5N news channel. The nationality of the victim was not given.
On Tuesday, a Bolivian and a Paraguayan were killed during a brief police incursion – their last – in the park, and another Bolivian was killed in clashes Thursday.
Argentina’s relatively good economy has attracted an estimated 1.8 million people from Bolivia and Paraguay, two of Latin America’s poorest nations.