Hundreds of thousands march in Argentina against education austerity

International |  IANS  | Published :

Buenos Aires, April 24 (IANS/DPA) Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Argentina to protest against cuts in the higher education sector.

According to the University of Buenos Aires, more than 500,000 demonstrators protested in the capital alone on Tuesday against the strict austerity programme of President Javier Milei's ultra-liberal government.

"We are defending the public, open and free university, which is one of the great achievements of our people and which we will not give up," said Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel at the central rally in front of the Casa Rosada, the seat of government.

"We are defending our right to live in dignity."

The education system in Argentina is considered to be one of the best in Latin America. Studies at public universities are free of charge and many young people from other countries in the region also come to the country to study.

As part of its austerity policy, the Argentinian government recently cut the budget of public universities by 71 per cent. If the funds are not increased, the University of Buenos Aires will no longer be able to pay the salaries of its staff from the middle of the year, the newspaper La Nación reported.

Argentina has been in a severe economic crisis for years. The ultra-liberal Milei has imposed harsh austerity measures on the country, cutting thousands of jobs in the public sector, reducing subsidies and winding down social programmes.

On Monday, he announced the first quarterly budget surplus in more than 15 years. However, critics say Milei's harsh austerity programme is plunging many people into poverty and is putting the country's future at risk, including with the cuts in the education sector.

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