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Violence mars Argentine budget session

Violence mars Argentine budget session

Buenos Aires: Violent incidents marred the Argentine budget session here with lawmakers clashing inside the Congress and demonstrators taking on police outside the building.

During the speech on Wednesday by ruling party legislator Luis Mario Pastori on the 2019 Budget, several of his colleagues began shouting that police outside the building were firing rubber bullets at the protesters.

"It's a pity that the opposition legislators do not want to hear the words of a government representative. It's an absolutely intolerant and undemocratic act," Efe quoted Pastori as saying.

Within minutes, many of the legislators were on their feet, there was tension and shoving. Speaker Emilio Monzo adjourned the house for 10 minutes.

The clash between police and protesters outside began around noon, when some of the latter started pelting rocks and the forces responded with tear gas and water cannon.

After the house resumed, instead of debating the budget bill the opposition demand that the municipal commissioner and federal Security Minister Patricia Bullrich must appeared before the Congress to explain the behaviour of the security forces.

Opposition members complained that they had been attacked by members of the security forces when they left Congress to interpose themselves between the police and the demonstrators.

The special session was focused on debating the budget bill sent to Congress by the government of conservative President Mauricio Macri, which called for additional austerity measures amid inflation, rising poverty and persistent unemployment.

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