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Argentine Police Arrest 117 Rioters in Looting at Supermarkets

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Police in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires today arrested 117 people during looting at supermarkets in two towns near the capital, Governor Daniel Scioli said.

The detentions in the country’s most populous province came after attacks yesterday on stores in several other cities, including the mountain resort of Bariloche and Rosario, a port town on the Parana River, where two people were shot dead during confrontations with police.

The looters smashed supermarket doors and stole goods from food and beverages to flat-screen televisions, according to images transmitted by television channels. Yesterday, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sent federal police to Bariloche to help restore calm.

“Some criminals have created the riots,” Scioli said today. “I want to have order, tranquility and respect for property rights in this province.”

South America’s second-biggest economy faced rioting and looting in December 2001, when a financial crisis led the government to freeze bank accounts and unemployment surged to a record 22 percent. The riots, in which more than two dozen people died, led to the resignation of President Fernando de la Rua and were followed by the country’s default on $95 billion of debt.

“There are sectors with their own agenda trying to generate chaos in Argentina,” Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina said in comments posted on the presidential website. “The government is being very active and strongly condemns” the looting, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at eraszewski@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net.

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