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Suspect arrested after assassination bid against Argentine vice-president

Argentina’s Vice-President Cristina Fernandez greets supporters demonstrating outside her residence in Buenos Aires, on August 29, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

A man who pointed a handgun at point-blank range at Argentina’s vice-president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, outside her residence in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta has been detained by the Argentinian police.

The incident was reported at 9 pm local time (00:00 GMT) on Thursday when Fernández de Kirchner was greeting supporters outside her home in the Buenos Aires neighborhood, who had rallied for days to protest against corruption charges against her.

The films recorded at the scene showed a man in the crowd unsuccessfully aiming his gun at Fernández de Kirchner's face. Images after the shooting show Kirchner cowering and covering his face. 

Fernández de Kirchner was lucky to survive as the gun loaded with five bullets failed to fire, president Alberto Fernández was quoted as saying, describing it as an attempt on the former president's life.

“A man pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger,” the president said in a national broadcast. “Cristina is still alive because, for some reason yet to be confirmed, the gun did not fire.”

He called it “the most serious incident" since the country "recovered democracy” in 1983, urging political leaders to condemn the incident.

The Argentinian newspaper Clarin reported that a 35-year-old Brazilian man had been arrested by the police at the scene of the incident.

“A person who was identified by those who were close to him who had a gun was detained by [the vice-president’s] security personnel. They set him aside, found the weapon, and now it must be analyzed,” security minister Aníbal Fernández told local cable news channel C5N.

The minister announced that the investigation will continue until more details of the incident are known.

Violence has surged among political figures in the Latin American country this year, sending ripples of shock and fear across the country.

Most of this violence revolves around corruption charges against Fernandez de Kirchner, which were raised in court. Some politicians and opposition officials have demanded that the vice president be executed.

After the incident, a statement from Fernández de Kirchner’s Frente de Todos party said "the incitement to hatred emanating from different spheres of political, media and judicial power against the former president only led to a climate of extreme violence.”

Sergio Massa, the Minister of Economy of Argentina, called the incident an attempt to assassinate Kirchner.

“When hate and violence prevail over debate, societies are destroyed and situations like these arise: attempted assassination,” he said in a tweet.

Former President Mauricio Macri called for an immediate and serious investigation into this incident. 

“They wanted to kill [Kirchner],” tweeted Argentina’s foreign minister, Santiago Cafiero. “This is the most serious act of political violence since the return of democracy.”

Fernandez de Kirchner is accused of financial and administrative corruption during her two terms as president, from 2007 to 2015.

Prosecutor Diego Luciani last week demanded 12 years of imprisonment if the charges against the vice president of Argentina were proven. 

These statements caused Kirchner's supporters to hold massive protests throughout Argentina, especially in front of her house in Buenos Aires.

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