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Violent clashes erupt in Buenos Aires as Congress tries at pension reform

Video: Reuters

Demonstrators and riot police clashed around the congressional complex in the Argentinan capital Buenos Aires as lawmakers prepared to debate on a controversial pension reform measure.

The incidents began shortly before 1.30pm (1630 GMT) when a group of stone-throwing demonstrators attempted to bring down barricades around Congress set up by the police who responded to the protesters with tear gas.

Debate on the bill was suspended on Thursday amidst violent protests, which were put down by police firing rubber bullets and tear gas. On Friday, the government amended the proposal to include a bonus payment to the most needy retirees.

Meanwhile the country's main union has called for a 24-hour general strike to protest the proposal. The day-long strike called by Argentina's main CGT labour group started at noon local time (1500 GMT). It was not expected to affect the nation's transportation system until late Monday night, allowing workers to get home in the afternoon.

The bill, key to President Mauricio Macri's efforts to lower business costs and reduce Argentina's fiscal deficit, has already passed the Senate, leaving the lower House to give final legislative approval.

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