Argentinian Government Urges People To Leave Buenos Aires Ahead Of G20 Summit

G20 protest in Buenos Aires
Nacho Sanchez / Getty Images

The two-day G20 summit will see the heads of state of the world’s 20 biggest economies come together in Buenos Aires, but the government is urging people to leave the Argentinian capital as it braces for a chaotic long weekend.

Friday, which is the day world leaders start arriving, has been declared a public holiday, and the city will go into an absolute security shutdown starting on Thursday, as reported by the Guardian. Public transport, including trains and subways, will be canceled and all flights over Buenos Aires will be diverted amid predictions of around 33 anti-G20 protests and cultural events taking place. The massive security operation will see around 22,000 police and security agents patrolling the city.

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri’s center-right government has strongly encouraged the city’s residents to leave town during the massive conference. However, the cancellation of public transport will also extend to the suburbs of Buenos Aires, affecting around 12 million people.

“We recommend you use the long weekend to leave. Leave on Thursday because the city’s going to get very complicated,” said security minister Patricia Bullrich.

“There will be lots of no-go zones, because the security measures will be very strong, and we’re going to take immediate decisions if there’s any violence because we’re not going to allow it.”

“We know there are attempts to generate spaces of extreme violence and situations of chaos and disturbances during the G20,” Bullrich added.

The extreme security measures have been implemented following four bomb scares in the city last week, forcing the evacuation of the Senate, the U.S. embassy, and other public buildings. The Buenos Aires police also came under fire over the weekend for failing to stop a huge fight between supporters of the River Plate and Boca Juniors soccer clubs.

Argentinians are known for setting up large, mainly peaceful protests, and the capital is gearing up for several anti-G20 events happening during the summit. In fact, street manifestations will start as early as Thursday, with a day-long demonstration already scheduled to take place on the square in front of Congress, which will affect downtown traffic. Another large protest is set to happen on Friday, but its location has not been announced yet.

Questions have also arisen surrounding the scheduled appearance of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been engulfed in a massive scandal after being accused of ordering the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Although it is unknown whether some world leaders will decide to participate in meetings with MBS, U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is prepared to meet with the prince.