BUENOS AIRES (AP) Rioting demonstrators shattered bank windows and trashed automated-teller machines in two provincial cities yesterday in a new outburst of violence sparked by a banking freeze and demands for back pay.
President Eduardo Duhalde defended the banking freeze as the only way to protect Argentines’ savings but promised he was seeking ways to ease the burden.
Youths hurled rocks through the windows of a BankBoston branch and attacked Citibank and Macro branches in the provincial capital of San Salvador de Jujuy, ripping out computers and furniture and tossing them into the streets.
In the city of Casilda, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to quell rock-throwing crowds that attacked banks, public utilities and a post office.
Thousands of demonstrators marched through Buenos Aires, the capital, yesterday to demand public-works jobs to help blunt the effects of an 18.3 percent jobless rate brought on by the most destructive Argentine recession in memory.
“We want 100,000 jobs now,” the protesters chanted, recalling a government pledge to create tens of thousands of jobs cleaning highways, parks and performing other mostly menial work as a way to reactivate an economy in a four-year tailspin.
Mr. Duhalde, in his first encounter with foreign journalists since taking power Jan. 2, did not say what steps he was considering to restore access to the frozen savings accounts.