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Argentina workers turn on Kirchner in mass strike

29 june 2012, 12:06
Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner. © REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner. © REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Tens of thousands of unionized workers staged a general strike on Wednesday, demanding tax cuts in their first major challenge to Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner since she took office, AFP reports.

"This protest is a call on the government to stop being dismissive and start a dialogue, consider new ideas and work with others to find solutions," Hugo Moyano, head of the main General Labor Confederation (CGT), told the crowd.

Moyano was a close ally of both Kirchner and her husband Nestor, her predecessor who died in 2010. But the union leader has recently clashed with the government, as economic growth has slowed and inflation has soared.

The CGT has eight million members, but most of those who protested in the historic Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires were members of the influential 250,000-strong truckers' union, which Moyano also leads.

In a televised address late Tuesday, Fernandez had urged the demonstrators to call off the labor action, which started last week with a truckers' strike, adding that she would not be "manipulated."

Moyano shot back: "We no longer recognize the Peronist government. We are not the ones who have taken some distance. The president has moved away from the workers."

The center-left politics of Kirchner and her husband push forward a wing of the broad Peronist movement of three-time ex-president Juan Peron and his populist wife Evita, or Eva Duarte Peron.

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