Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 15:15:38 +0000
Argentina Erupts Day 2
It is now noon here. So far, the following...
Looting once again. Some of it quite out of control (i.e stopping cars and trucks and taking everything). It is sometimes hard to watch, because while the looting of chain stores and such is great to see and heartening, you also sometimes see, for example, Korean immigrants whose entire life is their one small store they run as a family, crying about how their lives are ruined.
Because of the state of emergency all public gatherings of more than 3 people are forbidden. Despite this about 100 people have remained at Plaza de Mayo (in front of presidential palace) all night and until around 10 today. It was then that the police started pushing people back. Eventually the cops announced that it was an illegal gathering and gave people 15 minutes to disperse.
Once the 15 minutes ended, cops on horseback started chasing people away, tear gas was fired, rubber bullets, etc. The incredible thing is that not a soul is on the side of the police, so everyone who drives by honks, people walking by try to help, clap, boo the cops, throw things, etc.
The cops had managed to chase people several blocks away from the square, but all of a suden they reapperead. Everybody working in the area seems to have joined, there are currently probably 300-500 people.
I am leaving now to go to the Communist Party demonstration, hopefully it will go well.
Also, 8 banks were destroyed downtown during the rioting.
Since this started, there have been 9 deaths, about 200 injuries, and about 400 arrests.
I will write again once I get home.