A block of opposition Argentine senators from the Front for Victory-Justicialist Party, FpV-PJ, have rejected the criminalization of peaceful protests in the country by president Mauricio Macri.
Speaking on Saturday, the senators described Macri's acts as "unprecedented and inadmissible", stating that it is "one of the most dangerous institutional abuses he can commit."
The group pointed out that the national government has used "lying accusations" to sue 11 opposition legislators for the alleged crime of "aggravated attack of public officials, resistance or disobedience and cover-up."
The lawsuit refers to five different incidents that occurred on Dec. 14, when Congress had to postpone its session to vote on highly-unpopular pension reforms, for which there have been numerous protests in the last few weeks.
11- Como Pte Bloque del FPV-PJ le solicitó al Pte Macri, que ordene retirar la denuncia, en beneficio de la Democracia, la Independencia de Poderes, y la Republica. No hay democracia sin oposición política y sin que está pueda ser ejercida libremente— Agustin Rossi (@RossiAgustinOk) December 29, 2017
"This is an unprecedented and inadmissible fact for the democratic history of our country and constitutes, in itself, one of the most dangerous institutional abuses committed by the Government of Mauricio Macri," the statement from the legislators.
The targeted legislators are outraged given that during the protests between December 14 and 18, at least seven legislators, 30 journalists and media workers and dozens of civilians were injured by police use of rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas and attack dogs.
The legislators’ statement detailed the repression, denouncing the attacks.
They stressed that in the face of violent acts, the president of the FPV-PJ block, together with other deputies, officially denounce those responsible for the attacks.
Finally, they called on the government to be "more tolerant and open to dissent, respecting those who think differently".
"We are facing a strong threat to curtail popular representation in Parliament by using methods, procedures and forms that we wanted and believed definitely banished from Argentine politics, whose main objective is to criminalize social protest and intimidate voices that do not submit to the design of opposition that the Government intends to impose,” their statement concluded.