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Argentina: Cordoba Looting As Cops Strike
Three people have been killed and dozens more injured during supermarket looting in Argentina's second-largest city after police went on strike over pay.
With no officers on the streets, Cordoba found itself in the grip of a violent crime spree.
Shopfronts were smashed and mobs were seen carrying off stolen goods in their arms and shopping trolleys.
As looting took place at 15 supermarkets, police stayed in their barracks as part of their bid to secure better pay.
Some shop owners had to resort to standing guard outside their businesses, in the absence of police officers.
Cordoba governor Jose Manuel de la Sota said he had offered a 52% pay rise to provincial police officers, taking their monthly wage to 12,600 pesos (£1,243), which he called "the best salary for police in Argentina".
He blamed the police strike on his closure of brothels that provided an income stream to corrupt officers.
"We know that this, which is a terrible business, horrible, is linked to drug trafficking and that it would bring us problems sooner or later," he said.
Mr de la Sota, a political rival of President Cristina Fernandez who has long complained that his province is denied its share of national resources, also said the national government denied his initial appeals for help.
But government cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich, denied this and accused the governor of trying to shift the blame for a problem that was entirely his responsibility.
He told reporters the issue of the officers' salaries was the responsibility of Cordoba.
Mr Capitanich said: "In accordance with the national constitution, the nation of Argentina, adopted for its republican system of government, representative and federal - it says that there exists autonomy in the Argentine provinces for the development of basic, essential and delegated functions - public security is one of these.
"The matter strictly has to do with salaries and falls exclusively to the government of the Cordoba province."
He added they are "closely monitoring" the situation in order to establish "co-operation channels."
National Security Chief Sergio Berni said 2,000 border police would be sent to Cordoba to help restore order.