BUENOS AIRES -- Strikes called by two Argentine unions pressing for reduced taxes and better social benefits paralyzed Buenos Aires and much of the country, the latest signs of an upswell in opposition to President Cristina Fernandez and her policies.
Truck drivers, garbage collectors, train conductors and airport employees observed the strike called by the General Workers Confederation and Argentinian Workers Central -- unions that combined have about 500,000 members.
An estimated 2,000 trucks blocked bridges and arterial roads in Buenos Aires as well as those leading to provincial capitals, bringing commerce to a halt. Hugo Moyano, head of the Truckers Union, was a strong supporter of Fernandez in her reelection campaign last year but has since turned into one of her fiercest critics.
Buenos Aires' main commuter airport was shut down by the work stoppage, stranding many provincial tourists and business travelers in the capital. All but one of the capital's rail lines were closed, and many commuters simply stayed home from work.
Fernandez has suffered a sharp decline in public approval, according to recent polls. After winning reelection last year in a landslide, a survey taken in August showed 58.4% of respondents viewed her negatively and only 35.4% positively.