Argentina looting turns fatal

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REUTERS

People carry equipment from a ransacked shop in the northern Argentine province of Tucuman on December 9, 2013. Picture: La Gaceta

Buenos Aires - Seven people died overnight in looting in northern Argentina sparked by a police strike, authorities said on Tuesday.

Four deaths were reported in the northeastern province of Chaco, with three others in the provinces of Jujuy and Tucuman, said local government officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

The total number of fatalities now stands at nine, they said, with hundreds of others injured and dozens arrested.

The Chaco victims comprised three civilians and a 35-year-old police officer, one local official said.

In Jujuy, the fatalities occurred in the towns of San Pedro and Perico, another official told AFP.

Riots and looting first erupted in the city of Cordoba a week ago after police demanding higher wages refused to go on patrol there.

So far, the strikes, which have spread to about 10 provinces, are being observed by provincial forces and not the 60,000-strong federal police.

Governors in Cordoba, Neuquen, San Juan, Catamarca and Rio Negro have defused police protests in their provinces by doubling and tripling police salaries.

Inflation in Argentina is running at a rate of 30 percent a year, according to private analysts, fueling the social tensions.

Looting has occurred repeatedly in Argentina since the late 1980s.

Sapa-AFP


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