World

Man points handgun in face of Argentina’s vice president in ‘attempted assassination’

A man has pointed a loaded handgun in the face of Argentina’s vice president in what is being described as an attempted assassination.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was threatened outside her home in Buenos Aires on Thursday night.

The trigger was pulled but no shots were fired – indicating the weapon jammed – before the attacker was overpowered and arrested.

Video from the scene broadcast on local television channels shows the vice president exiting her vehicle surrounded by supporters outside her home, in the upscale Recoleta area of the capital.

The alleged gunman, identified as Brazilian national Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, does not have a criminal record, the Argentinian Security Ministry said.

He appears to extend his hand holding what has been confirmed as a .32-calibre Bersa semi-automatic pistol, before former president Ms Fernandez is seen raising her hand to her face and ducking for cover.

The suspect was overpowered within seconds by security officials.

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Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernandez, said the gun was loaded with five bullets.

“A man pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger,” he said in a national broadcast.

The weapon “didn’t fire even though the trigger was pulled,” Mr Fernandez added.

The president – who is not related to his deputy – said the attack was “the most serious incident since we recovered democracy” in 1983 after a military dictatorship.

Economy minister Sergio Massa said: “When hate and violence are imposed over the debate of ideas, societies are destroyed and generate situations like the one seen today: an assassination attempt.”

The suspect was arrested nearby and a weapon was found a few metres from the scene, according to a police spokesman.

Hundreds of protesters have gathered in recent days to support the former president, who is in the midst of a corruption trial.

She vehemently denies allegations, said to have happened during her 2007 – 2015 presidency.

The president declared Friday a holiday “so the Argentine people can, in peace and harmony, express itself in defence of life, democracy and in solidarity with our vice president.”

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