Massive Protest in Buenos Aires Against Government's Economic Policies

Thousands of Argentines protest Milei's austerity measures, warning of public university closures and the threat to free education, a fundamental right in the country.

Geeta Pillai
New Update
Massive Protest in Buenos Aires Against Government's Economic Policies

Massive Protest in Buenos Aires Against Government's Economic Policies

On April 23, 2024, hundreds of thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires and other major cities to protest against the government's harsh austerity measures and budget cuts to public universities. The massive demonstration, which included students, professors, trade unions, and even some conservative politicians and right-wing media personalities, was a historic show of unity against President Javier Milei's economic policies.

The protest was sparked by the financial emergency declared by the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), one of the top universities in Latin America, which warned of imminent closure due to Milei's budget cuts. The libertarian president has dismissed the crisis as "politics as usual," describing universities as "bastions of socialism." However, the protesters argue that free and quality public education is a fundamental right in Argentina, and they are determined to defend it against Milei's efforts to dismantle the country's public education system.

"We are here to defend the future of our country and the right of every Argentine to access excellent public education," said María Fernández, a student leader at UBA. "President Milei's policies are not only hurting our universities but also threatening the social progress that Argentina has achieved over decades."

The government has promised some additional funding for public universities, but authorities say it is not enough to cover their needs. The budget cuts have severely impacted universities, with some buildings facing power outages and professors teaching without basic equipment. The protesters accused Milei of trying to force the closure of public universities to push students toward private institutions.

Why this matters: The massive protest in Buenos Aires highlights the deep divisions in Argentina over President Milei's economic policies and the importance of public education in the country. The future of Argentina's public university system, which has produced five Nobel Prize winners and 17 presidents, hangs in the balance as the government and protesters clash over funding and the role of higher education in society.

The protest in Buenos Aires was one of the largest demonstrations against Milei's policies since he took office in December. Police estimated around 100,000 protesters in the capital, while organizers put the number closer to 500,000. The protesters marched through the city center, carrying banners with slogans such as "Education is not a privilege, it's a right" and "Without education, there is no future."

Despite the massive turnout, President Milei remained defiant, claiming that his government is "building a new era of prosperity" in Argentina. However, his policies have led to a 50% devaluation of the peso and widespread job losses, sparking numerous anti-austerity protests in recent months.


Key Takeaways

  • Hundreds of thousands protested in Argentina against Milei's austerity measures
  • Protest sparked by UBA's financial crisis due to Milei's budget cuts to universities
  • Protesters argue free public education is a fundamental right in Argentina
  • Government's additional funding deemed insufficient to cover universities' needs
  • Protest was one of the largest against Milei's policies since he took office