Hundreds of thousands of Argentinians have taken to the streets in broad protest of President Cristina Fernandez's policies. Concerns are mounting over possibilities she may amend the constitution to seek a third term.
Protesters gathered late Thursday in cities around Argentina in a demonstration against a possible re-election of Fernandez. Banging pots and waving flags, thousands of people chanted "Yes to democracy, no to re-election."
Demonstrators, who organized the protests using social media, were also voicing their unhappiness over widespread corruption, crime and inflation in Argentina.
Fernandez's government has all but banned dollar purchases and limited imports, creating a slow economy with 25 percent annual inflation.
"I don't like some of the government's attitudes, especially Cristina's authoritarianism," 20-year-old student Federico Chelli told the AFP news agency.
Those gathered in the capital Buenos Aires held banners reading "We're not scared," "Save the republic," and "An independent judiciary."
Protests also took place in other major cities, including Rosario, Mendoza, Cordoba and Bariloche.
The center-left Fernandez, Argentina's first elected female president, took office in 2007 and was re-elected last year. She succeeded her husband, Nestor Kirchner, who died of a heart attack in 2010.
She is constitutionally prohibited from running for a third term in 2015, but her supporters in congress have been lobbying for an amendment to the constitution.
According to a survey by the Management & Fit institute, 80 percent of the public opposes such an amendment.
"The president must listen to us: we don't want another re-election," said 60-year-old Nora Perez.
Critics have also objected to the government drive to break up the media empire run by Grupo Clarin as an assault on free speech. Anti-monopoly supporters have said the move will democratize the airwaves.
Thursday's demonstration follows a similar event in September, also organized via social media.
dr/lw (Reuters, AFP)