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Arrests at Argentina tax protest
About 20 people are held after police break up anti-government demonstration.
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2008 18:45 GMT
De Angeli said farmers would continue to
protest against the tax ruling [Reuters]
Argentine authorities have briefly detained about 20 people after breaking up a farmers' highway blockade which was protesting against an increase in grain export taxes.
 
The arrests on Saturday near the city of Gualeguaychu and Argentina's river border with Uruguay come amid a continuing standoff between farmers and the Argentine government.
The protesters were later released after protests broke out in Buenos Aires, the capital.
 
"The government is not going to pacify us like this; on the contrary. The protest will continue." Alfredo de Angeli, one of the demonstrators, told Cronica TV after his release.
The farm groups have said that they will continue strike action until Wednesday.
 
Protests to continue

Official news agency Telam reported that federal Judge Guillermo Quadrini gave the order to clear the road of the protesters on Saturday.

"I believe they arrested us for blocking the road but nobody read us any charges," Juan Maya, one of those detained, told Maxima radio.

The protests, which have gone on for three months, were sparked by a decision by Cristina Kirchner, the president, to raise export taxes on grains by more than 10 per cent.

Roberto Fernandez, head of the Tramway and Motorised Drivers Union, said on Saturday that there would be a "total halt of activities" because of the lack of an agreement between the government and farmers.

There was no immediate reaction from the government, which has said that farmers' profits should be distributed to the benefit of poor Argentines.

Farmers say the taxes will make it difficult for them to reinvest any profits to continue making a living.

Protests and road blockades have led to shortages of goods like meat, oil, flour, vegetables and fuel, but Kirchner has said she will not abandon the tax increase.

Source:
Agencies
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