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Duel rallies in Argentina ahead of farming vote

 Duel rallies in Argentina ahead of farming vote
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Two large rival rallies have been held in Argentina on the eve of a controversial Senate vote on soya exports. On one side of the debate, the government, which wants to raise export duties from 35 to 47 percent.

Close to 100,000 supporters of President Cristina Fernandez gathered in the capital Buenos Aires, hoping to sway those Senators who remain undecided.

Fernandez’ husband, former President Nestor Kirchner told them his ruling party would accept whatever decision the Senate made. “It’s the only way civilised people can live together while seeking justice and equality,” he said.

In another district of the city, anti-government protestors joined farmers in a rally organisers say was attended by 200,000 people.

They say the tax rise is unaffordable on top of existing price caps and export restrictions and have threatened to fight the measure in the courts if it is approved by the Senate.

The bill passed narrowly through the lower house and while the ruling party controls the upper house, some Senators from rural areas have broken ranks under pressure from Argentina’s powerful farming lobby.