Crime & Justice

Tens of thousands rally in Argentina to denounce attack on V.P.

Buenos Aires, Sep 2 (EFE).- Tens of thousands who marched to this capital’s emblematic Plaza de Mayo on Friday to repudiate the previous night’s attempt on the life of Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez cheered a manifesto that called for banishing hate from public discourse.

“The Argentine people are moved, affected by what occurred, including millions who don’t sympathize with Cristina,” Alejandra Darin, head of the Argentine Actors Association, said, reading from the document.

“It is in honor of all our compatriots that we make this appeal to national unity, but not at any price: out with hate,” she said from a stage opposite the Casa Rosada – Argentina’s White House – and surrounded by government ministers, union leaders and representatives of human rights organizations.

The statement included criticism of elements of the right-wing opposition and of media outlets hostile to Fernandez, who was president in 2007-2015, and to her late husband and predecessor as head of state, Nestor Kirchner.

“For several years, a miniscule sector of the political leadership and its partisan media have been repeating a discourse of hate, of negation of the other, of stigmatization, of criminalization of any popular leader,” Darin said, citing opposition demonstrations in Buenos Aires with mock coffins, tombstones and guillotines.

The attack took place Thursday night as Fernandez was returning to her apartment in the capital’s Recoleta neighborhood.

As she was greeting supporters waiting outside the building, a man walked up and pointed a hand-gun at her head before pulling the trigger twice.

A subsequent examination of the gun found that none of the five bullets it held had been chambered, so the action of the trigger had no effect.

The suspect was identified as Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, a 35-year-old Brazilian national with no previous criminal record in his homeland. Police found 100 rounds of ammunition when they searched his home Friday.

“Social peace is a collective responsibility,” Alejandra Darin said. “In the face of the attempted assassination of the principal political leader of the country, nobody who defends the republic can remain silent.”

On Aug. 22, the federal prosecutor in a case regarding alleged corruption during Fernandez’s presidency asked the court to sentence her to 12 years in prison.

The same day, supporters began a vigil outside the apartment building in Recoleta, persisting even after the opposition mayor of Buenos Aires ordered police to put up a fence at the site, which resulted in confrontations between Fernandez supporters and the cops until a federal court ordered the fence taken down.

The vice president emerged from the residence late Friday, hours after receiving a visit from President Alberto Fernandez (no relation).

Accompanied by bodyguards, Cristina Fernandez declined to talk to reporters, but chatted with supporters before getting into a vehicle.

Governments and prominent figures throughout the region condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Fernandez, who also received a telephone call from Pope Francis, her Argentine countryman. EFE


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