Argentine national police began arriving in the city of Mendoza last week, ahead of the People’s Summit on July 20 meant to counter the Mercosur meeting, bulking up the riot police by around 300 in an effort to push back the protests
The People’s Summit which will take place at the UNCuyo School of Art and Design and will protest neoliberal policies imposed by Argentine President Mauricio Macri and other right-wing governments in the region.
"The decision to organize and convene this People's Summit is based on the need to face the challenges that arise from the current regional situation and the advance of the right, supported by representatives of neocolonialism, and needs as an inseparable element of its goal of domination, to destroy the popular processes that occurred in recent years," said a statement from the group.
As its honorary president, the organizers named Milagros Sala, the Argentine Indigenous human rights leader, who has been in prison based on dubious allegations in Argentina since January 2016.
This is not the first People’s Summit, they have generally materialized around regional protests to neoliberal attempts at pushing back the people's struggles, with participants from social organizations, human rights groups and Indigenous representatives, among others.
"This meeting will be attended by representatives from several countries and more than 80 local organizations, trade unions, politicians, campesinos, women, among several others," said Eduardo Pereyra, Secretary of International Affairs of the Argentine.
"The idea is that integration between countries is more global and not just economic, as it is now," explained Pereyra.
Meeting organizers reported that invitations have been extended to all visiting state officials. So far, Chilean and Bolivian presidents Michell Bachelet and Evo Morales have accepted the offer.
The Mercosur meeting, which began Monday and will culminate with a heads of states meeting on July 21 to decide on the plan of action for the next six months, will be attended by member states Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and invited associate states Bolivia and Chile.
Venezuela's bid for full membership in the trade bloc has been suspended following efforts by right-wing governments to isolate the government of President Nicolas Maduro. The Bolivarian country has yet to say whether it will attend the meeting.