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Argentinian commuters fight back

Train delays provoke 'arson, looting and fighting'

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Argentinian commuters have expressed dissatisfaction at their country's privatised rail services, by last night indulging in "arson, looting and fighting" following rush-hour delays at Buenos Aires's Constituçion station.

According to The Guardian, enraged passengers "shattered windows, set fire to a ticket sales area, looted shops, and ripped payphones from walls", and were treated to police retaliation in the form of rubber bullets and teargas when the anarchy "spilled out to the street".

Youths also torched a motorcycle and used metal poles in an attempt to "break down wooden doors to a security office in the station". Police commissioner Ricardo Falana said 100 officers had faced a "hail of rocks" and cuffed 16 people, including two minors, during the fracas.

Train operator spokesman Fernando Jantus explained that the service was interrupted "because a train broke down just outside the station, preventing other trains from leaving". He correctly observed: "The problem happened at the worst moment."

The riot did little to improve services between Constituçion and Buenos Aires's "poor southern suburbs" - the ongoing cause of passengers' discontent - since it meant the cancellation of all trains from the station.

This is the second time customers have chosen to vent their spleen at Constituçion, The Guardian notes. A cancelled train last September provoked the incineration of three carriages, resulting in seven arrests. ®

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