By Pablo Velasco
On Friday 18 April, hundreds of police descended on the Brukman textile factory in Argentina to evict the workers who had been running it for over a year.
The factory has been run under workers' control since its bosses abandoned it in December 2001, owing wages to the workers. More than 50 of its 150 workers carried on production and applied to the courts for legal ownership. A judge had ruled in favour of the workers several months ago. Brukman is one of more than 150 factories occupied and run by workers in the aftermath of the Argentine economic collapse. A previous attempt at eviction was resisted by the workers, with the support of local people.
Now, once more, large numbers of workers, members of neighbourhood assemblies, piqueteros (organisations of the unemployed), leftwing parties, human rights organisations, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, and many others maintained a vigil outside the factory for two days.
However, police attacked the vigil using tear gas and lead bullets. A large part of the neighbourhood is now occupied by the police and military. The University of Buenos Aires Faculty of Psychology and the Garrahan Paediatric Hospital were attacked by police with tear gas and rubber bullets when supporters of the Brukman workers sought refuge in these buildings.
These attacks came just before the Presidential election on 27 April. The results of the first round were inconclusive and there will be a second round of voting to decide between two conservative candidates, former president Carlos Menem and Nestor Kirchner.
Menem has promised to increase the use of the military against social protests.
On Wednesday 23 and Sunday 27 April the Argentine Solidarity Campaign in Britain organised lively protests outside the Argentine Embassy. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit Indymedia Argentina.