OAN’s Abril Elfi
5:00 PM – Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Concerns about growing violence in Argentina is now rising as authorities have reported a large number of recent arrests regarding lootings of a number of stores and supermarkets ahead of October presidential elections.
According to reports, there have been an influx of lootings all around the cities of Bariloche, Mendoza, Neuquén, Córdoba, and Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires provincial officials stated that 94 people have been apprehended in more than 150 looting attempts since Monday.
Videos and photographs showed a plethora of stores being broken into and ransacked, shelves being emptied, people attempting to force their way into supermarkets, and even numerous fires that were started by arsonists.
Police were reportedly sent in to patrol the stores and footage posted on social media showed shop owners firing shotguns to scare away potential looters.
Minister of Security Aníbal Fernández alleged that most of the lootings were coordinated.
“There’s been an aim here to generate some kind of conflict and we have tried to prevent it,” he said. “These are not spontaneous and it is not a coincidence.”
Argentinian President Alberto Fernández agreed with the minister and said that the incidents “evidently were organized” and stated that it was “very important” for Argentinians to “preserve social peace” ahead of October 22nd elections.
The president blamed the lootings on Argentina’s conservative presidential candidate, Javier Milei, and his followers. Milei gained the most votes in the August 13th primary elections.
However, Milei denied having any involvement and alluded that the government itself might be behind the lootings.
Some store owners reportedly decided to close early after hearing of the [alleged] orchestrated lootings.
Store owners in areas like Loma Hermosa reinforced their steel curtains and several even threatened to “take matters into their own hands.”
The country is currently dealing with 113% annual inflation, which is fueling a cost-of-living catastrophe. Consumer prices have risen much higher this month as a result of the recent significant depreciation of the peso currency. Additionally, 4-in-10 people live in poverty in the country.
According to reports, inflation in Argentina could also reach 190% by the end of the year.
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