Argentina's Congress has approved a pension reform bill that has prompted violent protests and a general strike. The measure passed in the lower house by a 127-117 vote after more than 12 hours of debate, much of which came as demonstrators clashed with police outside the chamber.
, Protesters wave an Argentine flag as they gather against a fence cordoning off the Congress during a protest against pension reform in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Demonstrators in several neighborhoods of Buenos Aires banged on pots Monday night to protest the measure. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
19 of December 2017 14:50:05
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's Congress on Thursday approved a pension reform bill that has prompted violent protests and a general strike.
The measure passed in the lower house by a 127-117 vote after more than 12 hours of debate, much of which came as demonstrators clashed with police outside the chamber.
The legislation, which had already cleared the Senate, would change the formula by which pension benefits are calculated, basing them largely on inflation instead of wage growth and tax contributions. It's a key part of the economic changes pushed by the government of President Mauricio Macri to reduce Argentina's high deficit and attract investments.
Critics complain the bill will cut pension and retirement payments as well as aid for some poor families.
"We're sad. This law is bad," said opposition lawmaker Agustin Rossi. "We tried to impede it from passing, but we couldn't get the numbers. This harms retirees."
About 150 people were injured and about 60 were arrested in clashes between police and demonstrators Monday outside the Congress building. Some retirees who were protesting the measure were caught up in the middle of the violence when some demonstrators hurled rocks and gasoline bombs, and riot police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Others banged on pots in protest in several neighborhoods of the Argentine capital late into the night.
Argentina's largest union also called a 24-hour general strike that has grounded hundreds of flights.