Gun aimed at Argentine vice president: report

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina –

A man was arrested on Thursday night after he allegedly aimed a shotgun at empty range at Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernandez in what government ministers said was an assassination attempt. .

The man, who has not been identified, was taken into custody seconds after the incident.

Video from footage aired on local TV channels shows Fernandez leaving her car surrounded by supporters outside her home as a man reaches out with what looks to be a pistol and duck vice president.

Supporters around the man expressed shock at what was happening amid the uproar in the Recoleta neighborhood in the Argentine capital.

“A person who was identified by those close to him as having a gun was detained by security personnel (the vice president). They put him aside, found the weapon and now it has to be analyzed,” Security Minister Anibal Fernandez told local cable channel C5N.

The minister said he wanted to be careful about providing details until the investigation learned more. There is no official comment on whether the gun is real or not.

Unverified video posted on social media shows the pistol almost touching Fernandez’s face.

State news agency Telam reported that the alleged shooter was identified as Fernando Andres Zabak, a Brazilian citizen. Authorities did not confirm his identity.

Despite the open-ended questions, government officials were quick to describe the incident as an assassination.

Economy Minister Sergio Massa said: “When hatred and violence are imposed in the debate of ideas, societies will be destroyed and create situations like today: an assassination attempt. “.

Ministers in President Alberto Fernandez’s government issued a statement saying they “strongly condemn the attempted murder” of the vice president. “What happened tonight is extremely serious and threatens democracy, institutions and the rule of law,” the statement read.

Former President Mauricio Macri also denied the attack. Macri wrote on Twitter: “This very serious incident requires immediate and profound clarification by the judicial and security forces.

US Ambassador to Argentina, Marc Stanley, also commented on Twitter: “We are very relieved to hear that Vice President – CFKArgentina is fine. The United States joins hands with Argentina and all peace-loving people in rejecting violence, extremism, and hatred everywhere.”

Supporters of the vice president have been gathering in the streets around her home since last week, when a prosecutor called for a 12-year sentence for Fernandez as well as a life ban as part of the case. convictions related to corruption allegations. in public activities during her 2007-2015 presidency. Fernandez, who is not related to the incumbent president, has denied all charges.

When Fernandez leaves her apartment every day around noon, she greets supporters and signs autographs before getting in her car to head to the Senate. She repeats the same routine every evening.

Tensions have been rising in the upmarket Recoleta area since the weekend, when supporters of the vice president clashed with police on the streets around her apartment amid law enforcement efforts. clearing this area. Following the clashes, the police presence around the vice president’s apartment has decreased.

The vice president’s allies were quick to point the finger at the opposition for what they said was hate speech inciting violence. In recent days, several key officials said opposition leaders were seeking a death.

“This is a historic event in Argentina that must come before and after,” said Buenos Aires Governor Axel Kicillof.

Regional leaders also condemned the attack.

“We send our solidarity to the vice president in the fight against her life,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Twitter.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, a candidate in that country’s presidential election next month, also expressed solidarity with Fernandez, calling her a “victim of a fascist crime that knows no religion.” value difference and diversity”.

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