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Taiwan: new earthquakes Tuesday morning, including one of magnitude 6.3

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Taiwan: new earthquakes Tuesday morning, including one of magnitude 6.3

Hundreds of thousands of Argentines, students in the front row, demonstrated on Tuesday against the austerity policy of Javier Milei’s government and “in defense of free public universities”. These marches were denounced as “political” by the executive.

In the capital, the mobilization, probably the largest since the start of the Milei presidency in December, brought together “between 100,000 and 150,000” people, according to a police source, and half a million, according to the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). A teachers’ union reported a million protesters across the country.

In Buenos Aires, students, parents, teachers, university agents, but also unions and members of opposition parties, paralyzed the center of Buenos Aires all afternoon, near the Parliament, until the Place de May, seat of the presidency 2 km away, crowded with people at the end of the day, noted AFP.

Other gatherings in the provinces mobilized the country’s sixty public universities, which were joined by private institutes. In Cordoba (center), seat of the oldest university in the country founded at the beginning of the 17th century, the procession brought together tens of thousands of people.

“Zero deficit” objective

In Buenos Aires, in a festive atmosphere, students symbolically brandished a book at arm’s length, denouncing “a brutal attack” against the university, as Pablo Vicenti, a 22-year-old medical student, deplored to AFP: “They want cut off their money by pretending there is no money. There is, yes, but they choose not to spend it on public education.

Public universities, which welcome more than 2.2 million students, say they are “in budgetary emergency” since the government decided to maintain, for the 2024 academic year (which began in March) the 2023 budget, despite inflation of 288% over twelve months. And this within the framework of all-out budgetary austerity, to aim for a “zero deficit” at the end of the year, the Milei government’s objective, and to tame inflation.

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“Indoctrination” or excellence?

For several establishments, it is a threat of paralysis, and certain sections of the prestigious UBA have recently implemented emergency savings: unlit common areas, restricted use of elevators, reduced library hours, etc.

The Faculty of Exact Sciences of the UBA, which notably trained the 1984 Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology Cesar Milstein, has set up an online countdown until the day its 2024 budget is exhausted. At the time of the protest on Tuesday, he had 37 days, 9 hours and 15 minutes remaining.

The major union center CGT joined the protest, as well as radical left organizations and opposition politicians, giving way to the accusation of “political demonstration” by the executive. Milei added fuel to the fire, accusing certain public universities of being places of left-wing “indoctrination”.

The Undersecretary of State for Universities, Alejandro Alvarez, warned the demonstrators and their supporters. “Let them do what they want, but as long as Javier Milei is president, the public money that goes to Universities will be AUDITTED (…) we are establishing an inspection and an audit that did not exist,” a- he indicated on X.

“Educational Lighthouse in America”

Presidential spokesperson Manuel Adorni stressed Monday that Argentine public education has in the past been “an educational beacon in America” ​​but that “for decades the university has had serious problems (…) and low rates of ‘completion of studies which plunge’. “We cannot question 200 years of history. Even with a very low budget, the UBA is among the three best universities in Latin America,” protested the dean of the UBA Faculty of Medicine, Luis Brusco.

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Mr. Adorni also recalled an agreement a few days ago to increase the operating costs of universities in two stages, +70% in March, then +70% in May. Far from inflation, but now a “settled discussion”, according to him. “Don’t expect an outcome on the side of public spending,” Milei warned Monday evening, trumpeting a budget surplus in the first quarter of 2024, without precedent since 2008, thanks to austerity. “Our plan is working,” he boasted.

“All our problems are solved with more education and public universities (…) Education saves us and makes us free. We call on Argentine society to defend it,” read a student to the crowd in Place de May at the end of the gathering.

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