Argentina. Protesters rally for vice president after assassination attempt | Political news

Thousands of people gathered in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, to show their solidarity and support for Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who survived an assassination attempt outside her home.

Friday’s show of support came less than 24 hours after a man tried to shoot Fernandez de Kirchner, who was the country’s former president, at point-blank range amid a crowd of his supporters. .

The shooter, who was standing a few feet from the vice president, pulled the trigger Thursday night, but the gun did not fire.

Authorities have yet to determine the motive for the attack, but a suspect – identified as 35-year-old Brazilian Fernando Andres Sabag Montiel – has been arrested.

“Luckily the bullet didn’t come out because the consequences could have been much worse,” said Florencia Suera, a 22-year-old worker in Buenos Aires.

Oscar Delupi, 64, a railway worker in the capital, blamed the violence on political divisions. “It’s crazy, society has already gotten a little carried away, the message of hate… is getting more and more ferocious among these feeble-minded people who opt for something crazy like an attack”, a- he said.

A protester holds a photo of Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez during a march in Buenos Aires, September 2 [Agustin Marcarian/Reuters]

The incident sent shockwaves through Argentina and the wider region, and drew condemnation from world leaders on Friday.

It also comes as Fernandez de Kirchner faces corruption charges, which she denies, and as the South American nation reels from growing political polarization and an economic crisis fueled by inflation. sharply.

Reporting from Buenos Aires, journalist Natalio Cosoy described the demonstration supporting Fernandez de Kirchner as “massive”.

“Emotions are running high, but it’s also a relief for them that [the assassination] didn’t make it, so there are mixed feelings…shock and relief,” Cosoy told Al Jazeera.

He added that the vice president’s supporters had tried to rally in her defense since before the assassination attempt to dismiss the corruption charges against her, which they see as politically motivated.

Oscar Parrilli, a senator and ally of the vice president, told local radio that Fernandez de Kircher was fine but in shock after the attack. “Luckily she has her mind intact,” he said.

Javier Farje, a political analyst, said the attempt on Fernandez de Kirchner’s life could increase his popularity.

“The video very clearly shows a gun to my head,” Farje told Al Jazeera. “The shock to Argentinian society is so huge that it could ironically help her regain some of the popularity she might have lost among people who disagree with her.”

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, who is not related to Fernandez de Kirchner, called the assassination attempt “the most serious event” the country has endured since returning to democracy in 1983 after years of rule military.

“Cristina is still alive because – for a reason that remains to be technically confirmed – the weapon that had five bullets did not fire despite being triggered,” the president said. It also declared Friday a national holiday in defense of democracy.

Cosoy, the reporter, said Fernandez emphasized a message of unity.

“It’s a very politically polarized country… So I think now [Fernandez] try to address this issue and talk about trying to come together and reduce levels of aggression in public discourse,” Cosoy said.

Fernandez de Kirchner, left, served two terms as president between 2007 and 2015.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday condemned the failed attack on Fernandez de Kirchner, saying Washington stood “with the government and people of Argentina in rejecting violence and hatred.”

Leftist Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also called the attack “deplorable”, calling Fernandez de Kirchner’s survival “miraculous”.

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