Tens of thousands demonstrated in Argentina, Friday, under the shock of the assassination attempt on Vice President Cristina Kirchner, which sparked a wave of international condemnation and calls for political calm in the country.
Demonstrators carried banners in Buenos Aires, where the capital has long held the largest demonstration, “Enough hate,” while President Alberto Fernandez declared Friday a holiday, describing the assault on a former president (2007-2015) as “a very dangerous act, the most dangerous our country has ever witnessed.” since its restoration of democracy” in 1983.
On Thursday evening, a man pointed his gun at Vice President Christina Kirchner in front of her home. Several television channels broadcast a picture of this person pointing a weapon at Kirchner’s head, a few meters away from her without firing a bullet, while she was talking to her supporters in front of her home in the Recoleta neighborhood.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said in a statement hours after the accident that “Cristina is alive because the weapon containing 5 bullets did not work for a reason that has not been confirmed technically, despite the trigger being pulled.”
According to her lawyer, Gregorio Dalpon, Kirchner “didn’t realize at the time” what was happening.
The official Telam news agency quoted police sources as saying that the man who was immediately arrested was Fernando Andre Sabage, 35, who has Brazilian citizenship but has an Argentine mother and a Chilean father. He has lived in Argentina since 1993, and was arrested in 2021 for carrying a knife.
The accused refused to answer the questions of the judge and the public prosecutor in charge of the case, according to judicial sources quoted by local newspapers. He had previously undergone psychiatric examinations, which concluded that he could be prosecuted.
Through his Instagram account, Sabaj appears with multiple changing looks and numerous tattoos, including the black sun, generally associated with Nazi groups.
“Mario”, a man who introduced himself as the defendant’s friend since his teenage years, said in an interview with “Telef” network that Sabag “has been obsessed with the death of his mother, and his life was often affected by alcohol.”
The entire Argentine political class condemned the assassination attempt. Pope Francis, formerly Archbishop of Buenos Aires, sent a message of “solidarity and closeness”, saying he prayed that “social harmony and democratic values will always prevail”.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his “shock” at the assassination attempt and condemned it. The United States also “strongly” condemned the attempt, and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote on Twitter that Washington “stands with the government and people of Argentina in rejecting violence and hatred.”
In Buenos Aires, the Plaza de Mayo, which historically witnessed the joy and anger of Argentines, was filled with a large crowd on Friday at the invitation of the ruling coalition and movements loyal to it.
Other rallies were held in Santa Fe, Rosario, Tucuman and several other cities, as reported by local media, at the invitation of pro-government sectors.
“I came to support democracy and Cristina to tell her we’re here. To see if the Argentines wake up and realize we can’t go this way,” retired Adriana Spina, 61, told AFP.
‘climate of violence’
Seven years after leaving the presidency, Cristina Kirchner, President of the Senate, remains an important active figure in the country’s political scene, a year before a presidential election that has not yet announced her intentions.
Hundreds of activists have gathered every evening for 10 days in front of Christina Kirchner’s home to express their support for her, while she is currently on trial for fraud and corruption.
Their number was a few dozen when the accident occurred on Thursday evening. The atmosphere remained oddly calm in the following hours.
Among these supporters is Martin Frias, 48, a member of the Peronist Party, who told AFP he regretted the political “climate of violence” in the country. “Violence in words leads to acts of violence,” he said.
On August 22, the prosecution requested a 12-year prison sentence against Kirchner and depriving her of the possibility of running in the elections for life, in a trial related to the award of public contracts in her stronghold in Santa Cruz (south) during her two presidential terms.
In an atmosphere of intense political polarization, the indictment led to demonstrations in support of Kirchner organized by the Peronist left, whose most important figure is. Gatherings took place last week in several cities.