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Argentina Sinks Deeper into Crisis

After only one week in office, Argentina's President Adolfo Rodrigues Saa resigned late Sunday night. Angry protest against the way Saa was handling the country's economic crisis forced him out of office.

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Demonstrators bear the country's flag

Argentina is sinking deeper into crisis. On Sunday, President Adolfo Rodriguez Saa resigned. As Argentina's interim president, Saa was supposed to lead the country out of its economic and political turmoil and prepare elections for March 2002.

Adolfo Rodriguez Saa had only been in office for one week. But Argentineans were dissatisfied with the way he handled the country's deep recession. All weekend long, residents of Buenos Aires took to the streets to voice their angry protest at what they saw as corrupt Cabinet appointments.

Resignations

Adolfo Rodriguez Saa

Adolfo Rodriguez Saa

In a televised address, Rodriguez Saa said his resignation was effective immediately and could not be rejected. He blamed his premature departure on a lack of support from his own Peronist Party.

Shortly after Saa's resignation, Senate chief Ramón Puerta also threw in the towel saying he was suffering from bad health. Puerta would have been next in line to the job of President.

The Argentinean constitution states that the head of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Camano, should now take over.

Weekend demonstrations

Demonstranten in Argentienen

Argentineans banging pots and pans

All weekend long, demonstrators in Buenos Aires made their dissatisfaction with Saa's government known by banging on pots and pans.

The demonstrations turned violent when protestors forced their way into Argentina's congress building. They smashed windows, set fires inside the building and destroyed computers.

Restaurants, stores and banks in Buenos Aires also fell victim to vandalism and looting.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the angry crowd. At least twelve people were injured and 30 were taken into custody.

Widespread dissatisfaction

The demonstrators demanded the resignation of several of President Saa's cabinet ministers and close associates.

One of them was former Buenos Aires mayor Carlos Grosso, who had been named the president's chief adviser. Grosso was forced to resign in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The same kind of violent protest had forced Adolfo Rodriguez Saa's predecessor Fernando de la Rua out of office on December 20. At least 27 people were killed in those riots.

Argentineans are frustrated with a four-year recession that has impoverished thousands.

Many people have lost their jobs because entire industries have closed down. The unemployment rate in Argentina has risen to 18.3 percent.

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