23 Dec 2012

Looting spreading in Argentina

1:02 pm on 23 December 2012

Two people have been killed in the city, Rosario, Argentina, as a wave of looting spreads.

The looting began in the resort of Bariloche in the south on Thursday.

There have been other incidents in the northern province of Chaco and on the outskirts of the capital, Buenos Aires, where police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to stop hundreds of people attacking a Carrefour supermarket in San Fernando.

The government says trade unions linked to the opposition are to blame.

The BBC reports images of people - many of them with their faces covered - throwing stones at the police and trying to break into shops and supermarkets, have been shown on television.

National Security Secretary Sergio Berni said the looters were taking plasma televisions and stereos, not food and had not been driven by poverty.

"There is a part of Argentina that wants to drive the country into chaos and violence," Mr Berni said.

"But this Argentina is not the same of 2001" (when supermarkets were stormed by unemployed people).

At least three supermarkets in Bariloche were looted on Thursday by more than 100 people, who left with electronics, toys, clothes and food.

Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli also said the disruption is politically motivated.