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President Fernando De la Rua resigned and fled the government palace in a helicopter, driven from office by a devastating economic crisis and days of rioting that left 22 people dead and homes and supermarkets across Argentina ransacked.
De la Rua's sudden downfall yesterday came amid Argentina's worst unrest in a decade.
The collapse appeared to end a gruelling political crisis that began more than a year ago with the resignation De la Rua's vice president, Carlos Alvarez.Scores of people, weeping from acrid tear gas, fled with rubber bullet wounds. Protesters called for De la Rua to step onto the balcony and face the people, shouting, "Come out! " The shutters stayed shut, and the palace was surrounded by iron barricades and scores of riot police.De La Rua declared a state of siege late on Wednesday, assuming increased powers to quell the two days of unrest.Any devaluation of the peso could mean instant bankruptcy for thousands of Argentines, along with many of the country's largest businesses.More than 80 per cent of contracts and debts are denominated in the dollar.