Students, teachers, parents protest Argentina university budget cuts

Hundreds of thousands of Argentines took to the streets on Tuesday, protest organizers said, to voice outrage at cuts to higher public education under budget-slashing new President Javier Milei.

Joined by professors, parents and alumni from the economic crisis-riddled South American country's 57 state-run universities, students rose up "in defense of free public university education."

Labor unions, opposition parties and private universities backed the protests in Buenos Aires and other major cities such as Cordoba -- in one of the biggest demonstrations yet against the austerity measures introduced since Milei took office in December.

Police said around 100,000 people turned out Tuesday in the capital alone, while organizers put the number at closer to half-a-million -- paralyzing the city center for hours on end.

A teachers' union reported a million protesters countrywide.

Third-year medicine student Pablo Vicenti, 22, told AFP in Buenos Aires he was outraged at the government's "brutal attack" on the university system.

"They want to defund it with a false story that there is no money. There is, but they choose not to spend it on public education," he said.

Milei won elections last November vowing to take a chainsaw to public spending and reduce the budget deficit to zero.

To that end, his government has slashed subsidies for transport, fuel and energy even as wage-earners have lost a fifth of their purchasing power.


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