Thousands of people have protested in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, December 12, and Wednesday, December 13, against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the perceived negative effects of globalization and international trade during the WTO's Ministerial Conference currently taking place in the capital. Protesters threw stones and petrol bombs during isolated skirmishes with police during the demonstrations. At least two people have been wounded in the protests and clashes with police.
Significant traffic disruptions have been reported near the protests in central Buenos Aires, including between the Congress of the Nation and the Obelisk, and along Corrientes Avenue, 9 de Julio Avenue, and Rivadavia Avenue. Police forces erected barriers around the Puerto Madero neighborhood on Tuesday. Road closures and an increased security presence are to be expected throughout the duration of the conference, running until Thursday, December 14, notably in the Puerto Madero, Microcentro, and El Bajo areas, as well as on the Buenos Aires-La Plata highway. The US Embassy in Buenos Aires has also warned of possible traffic disruptions near the Centro Cultural Kirchner (CCK), and the University of Buenos Aires School of Law (Figueroa Alcorta Avenue) during the conference. A full list of planned traffic and movement restrictions during the conference period is available here.
On December 12, roughly 2500 protesters participated in a demonstration against the WTO and the alleged negative effects of globalization that have affected the country. Local media sources reported that security forces fired tear gas at protesters after riots broke out during the demonstration, and that least 15 people were arrested during the protests.
The WTO holds ministerial conferences every two years to discuss international economic issues. Argentine President Mauricio Macri has promoted free trade policies since taking office in 2015, drawing condemnation from some civil society groups. In April, security forces used water cannons and tear gas to disperse anti-free trade protesters who blocked a highway during the World Economic Forum meeting in Buenos Aires.
Individuals Buenos Aires are advised to avoid all demonstrations as a precaution and to allow for extra time to reach their destinations.
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