Argentines Take to Streets Against Macri's Winter Utility Hikes

Featured Argentines Take to Streets Against Macri's Winter Utility Hikes
The hikes are "affecting people very seriously," said Osvaldo Bassano, head of the Association for the Defense of Users and Consumers.

The streets in Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities are filled with protesters in a "Cacerolazo" against President Mauricio Macri’s major hikes in utilities, including a 700 percent rise in electricity, over 2,000 percent in gas in some places and 350 percent in water.

RELATED: Argentina's Macri Spikes Utility Costs by 500% then Asks the Poor to Take Shorter Showers

Consumer protection associations and leftist groups called the march against the hikes, which are "affecting people very seriously," said Osvaldo Bassano, head of the Association for the Defense of Users and Consumers. They will light candles and bang pots in what is now winter in Argentina. Some are demanding that the energy minister resign, reported teleSUR correspondent Laereano Ponce.

The Supreme Court demanded Monday that Macri justify the “social and economic aspects” of the measure within the next 10 days. The government of La Plata decided Thursday to suspend all bill increases, saying the government failed to implement the required public audits before imposing the price hike in April.

A court in Lomas de Zamora, in the province of Buenos Aires, also suspended the increase in water bills for the prosecuting family, opening the doors for future precautionary measures against the hikes.

RELATED: Poverty Increases by 5% in Argentina Under Mauricio Macri

Macri justified his move Wednesday as necessary to control the limited and expensive energy resources in Argentina. The hikes come on the back of major cuts in energy subsidies shortly after taking office last December.

Both chambers in Congress announced measures to supervise the government's controversial move. Senators approved a bill asking the government to suspend the rise of gas bills until the case brought to the Supreme Court was solved, while representatives called a special session over the matter.

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