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Riots broke out on Monday in Rosario, in northeastern Argentina, between police and residents who attacked the homes of people they said were involved in a shootout between rival drug gangs, resulting in the death of a child.

Police used plastic bullets to disperse a rock-throwing crowd that had begun tearing down the walls of a small, brick house in a working-class district of the city, television footage showed.

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Police officers took the occupant out of the house. The house was then ransacked, with those gathered taking furniture, electrical items and toys. The neighbors continued to demolish it, with sledgehammers. Another house was engulfed in flames, however, with the timely intervention of the fire brigade, the fire did not reach proportions.

The local security minister, Claudio Brigioni, told reporters that the incidents reflected the public’s anger against drug traffickers. On the night of Saturday to Sunday, in an exchange of fire, four children between the ages of 2 and 14 were injured. One of them, an 11-year-old boy, later succumbed to his injuries.

“There is a battle for the control of the area, between a local group and another that came from elsewhere (…) with the aim of controlling the trafficking,” said prosecutor Adrian Spelta, who has been investigating the case. The attackers fired from inside a car and hit the four children, who were playing “close to the person who had been targeted,” he added.

Rosario, Argentina’s third most populous city, has become a crossroads for drug trafficking in recent years. At the same time, it has become one of the most dangerous cities in the country: in 2022 alone, there were 287 homicides, five times the average for the rest of the country.