Shocking video shows the attempted assassination of Argentina's vice president, as she found herself literally staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.
Police have arrested a 35-year-old Brazilian man after he attempted to shoot Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, but failed when the weapon misfired.
The incident happened Thursday night in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires. Kirchner was surrounded by a mob of supporters outside her home when suddenly a man pulled a gun on her.
Video shows Kirchner greeting people and walking past several cars when when someone points a handgun directly in her face. Kirchner ducks and the weapon appears to misfire before the crowd realizes what is happening and people begin shouting.
Another video taken from a different angle shows people in the crowd struggling, presumably with the gunman, after the weapon failed to fire.
Argentinean President Alberto Fernández (no relation) denounced the attempted assassination in a televised speech to the nation Thursday night.
“A man pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger,” Fernández said. He called the crime “the most serious event we have gone through since Argentina returned to democracy” in 1983.
“Cristina remains alive because — for a reason not yet technically confirmed — the gun that had five bullets did not fire despite that the trigger was pulled,” the president said, according to Kawsachun News.
ABC News reports that supporters have been gathered outside Kirchner's home since last week, when a prosecutor said she should be imprisoned for 12 years and barred from holding office because of charges related to a corruption scandal. Kirchner, a left-wing politician who served as Argentina's president from 2007 to 2015, has denied any and all wrongdoing.
Kirchner was elected vice president on a ticket with Fernández in 2019.
“We can disagree, we can have deep disagreements, but hate speech cannot take place because it breeds violence and there is no chance of violence coexisting with democracy,” Fernández said.
He called for a national holiday on Friday to allow Argentinians to “express themselves in defense of life, democracy and in solidarity with our vice president.”
Other government officials condemned the “attempted homicide” of the vice president.
“When hate and violence are imposed over the debate of ideas, societies are destroyed and … situations like the one seen today: an assassination attempt,” Economy Minister Sergio Massa said.
Former President Mauricio Macri said the attack “demands an immediate and profound clarification by the judiciary and security forces.”
Opposition leader Patricia Bullrich criticized the president in a statement accusing him of “playing with fire.”
“Instead of seriously investigating a serious incident, he accuses the opposition and the press, decreeing a national holiday to mobilize activists,” Bullrich said.
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