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Thousands of Argentinian workers took part in a nationwide strike against President Javier Milei’s divisive economic reforms Wednesday, in what is being called the first test for the new leader and his “shock therapy” plan to lift Argentina out of a deep economic crisis, CNBC reported.

The country’s largest labor union, the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT), called a general strike in opposition to Milei’s far-reaching measures aimed at deregulating Latin America’s third-largest economy.

The demonstrations come just over a month after Milei – a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” – took office after winning a presidential run-off following a campaign promising to change decades of economic malaise.

Argentina is facing a profound economic crisis with an annual inflation rate exceeding 211 percent – the highest in 32 years – with two in five citizens living in poverty due to state financial mismanagement.

Milei’s proposals include plans to dollarize the economy, abolish the central bank and privatize the pension system.

Soon after taking office, he issued a decree that included defunding Argentina’s film institute, privatizing state enterprises, and prohibiting state intervention in controlling the prices of essential goods.

But that move sparked widespread opposition, with Wednesday’s strike following two mass protests since Milei assumed power in December, according to El País.

While analysts believe the strike may not immediately impact Milei’s policies, there’s concern about the labor union’s potential to grow in size and potency, posing a future challenge to economic stability.

Meanwhile, Milei’s administration responded unfavorably to the strikes, threatening to dock a day’s pay from each striking public servant and establishing a toll-free line to report “threats and pressure” on workers to stay away from their jobs.

Despite the strike being seen as a political test for Milei, economists and analysts noted that the demonstrations could tarnish the credibility of the labor unions – referring to their unwillingness to strike during the previous administration.

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