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  • Macri faces strong criticism from unions around the country.

    Macri faces strong criticism from unions around the country. | Photo: Reuters

Thousands of protesters across Argentina continue to mobilize against utility price hikes under the current conservative government.

The government of President Mauricio Macri in Argentina announced Friday it is phasing out all energy subsidies by 2019, which means increasing the cost of gas by more than 400 percent.

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​​​​​​​According to Juan Jose Aranguren, head of the Ministry of Energy, the per cubic meter value of gas will see a 165 percent increase starting Oct 2016, and 425 percent increase by Oct. 2019.

For residential users, the cubic meter of gas will increase from US$0.69 to US$1.84 beginning Oct. 1, with the adjustment depending on the exchange rate. Aranguren explained the energy plan at a public hearing with consumer associations in Buenos Aires.

Argentina's highest court rejected on Tuesday a request by progressive lawmakers to annul the spikes in utility prices.

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Argentines March Across Country to Protest Macri's Policies

The court ruled that the plaintiffs “lacked legitimacy” to represent the users of electricity services living in the capital of Buenos Aires.

The initial request was submitted by a group of Buenos Aires lawmakers, the Buenos Aires ombudsman, the Justicialist Party of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and the soccer club “October 12.”

One month after being elected in Dec. 2015, Macri's administration imposed huge hikes in wholesale electricity rates, which will leave some facing an increase of 700 percent after subsidies are removed.

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