Argentine businessmen staged a nationwide 24-hour "lockout" on Monday (16 February) to protest against Argentina's "rapid economic decline under Peronist rule".
GV PAN deserted streets
CU sign announcing shop closure ZOOM OUT TO GV of closed shops
GV people window shopping (4 shots)
GV and CU people looking at damaged steps of building (after bomb blast) (3 shots)
Initials RH/1955 RH/GB/AM/2010
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Background: Argentine businessmen staged a nationwide 24-hour "lockout" on Monday (16 February) to protest against Argentina's "rapid economic decline under Peronist rule".
The lockout, called by Argentina's Permanent Assembly of Businessmen (APEGE), went ahead despite bomb blasts in Buenos Aires and neighbouring La Plata, and in defiance of a Government warning that the full rigour of the law would be applied against its organisers.
Pre-dawn bombs wrecked five Fiat motor showrooms around the capital and two bank branches in La Plata, some 25 (48 kilometres) to the south. There were no injuries.
APEGE officials claim 90 percent of Argentina's businessmen, farmers and services shut down during the pretest.
They say the move was necessary because the Government's policies have brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy, with runaway inflation that has soared to 935 percent in the past year.
The lockout was massively effective in Buenos Aires. In the city centre, department stores, boutiques and small shops didn't open....restaurants and bars also remained closed.
Commuter trains and buses from suburbs to the city were half empty--employers have guaranteed they will pay workers' wages for the lockout---and Monday morning rush hour traffic was down to a trickle.
Banks and multi-national corporations did not join in, but have expressed sympathy with the protest.
The lockout--the first employers strike ever staged throughout the country---coincided with mounting demands for the removal of President Maria Estela Person.