Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been placed in pretrial detention, prompting Argentinian social movements and political organizations to mobilize and demand the "rule of law."
Federal judge Claudio Bonadio alleged that Fernandez committed "treason against the fatherland" and "aggravated cover-up" in connection with the involvement of five Iranian officials in the bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutualist Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires in 1994.
The judge claimed Thursday that in signing a memorandum of understanding with Iranian officials in Argentina in 2013, Fernandez had agreed to not investigate possible Iranian involvement in the attack, thus "aggravating" the inquiry and granting the alleged bombers impunity.
Fernandez, who was sworn in as senator last week, now faces between 10 years and life in prison. She has responded by rejecting the claims, saying they are against the State of Law and democracy in the country.
"From a legal point of view, this is a nonsense, an excess; these measures not only violate the rule of law, but seek to cause personal and political harm to opponents, their career, their ideas... it has nothing to do with justice and democracy," Fernandez declared during a press conference.
Describing the judge's ruling as a "smokescreen," she argued that the prosecution against her has "no cause." "Bonadio knows it, the government knows it, President Macri knows it, too."
She also reiterated that the "harassment and humiliation... further degrade the Argentine justice system and point to the government and President Macri as most responsible for a political and judicial organization persecuting the opposition."
Demonstrations began in Bueno Aires' Plaza de Mayo late Thursday, with protesters marching toward government buildings to promote the message "Freedom to all political prisoners in Argentina!"
Head of the Confederation of Workers of the Social Economy (CTEP), Juan Grabois, posted a rallying cry on Twitter for protesters to unite "against the policy of repression and the persecution of opponents promoted by the government."
"I know it's difficult, but let's try to see this issue beyond the crack, regardless of whether you like (Fernandez) or not," he posted on his social media account. "Justice imprisons opponents without conviction. It cannot be tolerated in this democracy. Even if you voted for Macri, mobilize."
Other organizations taking part include the Frente Milagro Sala, which has long supported Indigenous Argentine activist Milagro Sala. Earlier Thursday, Sala was acquitted of criminal charges involving alleged threats against law enforcement.
Sala's Tupac Amaru group will also participate, they said, noting that "today they assassinated the Rule of Law."
Members of Patria Grande; the Evita Movement; and the Workers and Left Front (FIT) will also be present, some of which distanced themselves from Fernandez years ago.
Bonadio also ordered the arrest of former Argentine government official Hector Timerman. Former Secretary General Carlos Zannini, who served under Fernandez, has already been arrested.
Also arrested early Thursday morning were activists Luis D'Elia and Jorge 'Yussuf' Khalil. Twelve other former government officials are suspected of playing a part in the so-called "cover-up," but have not yet been detained.
Former Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernandez rejected the decision of Bonadio, arguing that the only way to stop such "nonsense" is through social mobilization.
"Citizens have to go out to demand respect for the State of Law,” he said during a radio interview with Del Plata.
Thursday's rally coincides with one having been organized earlier by the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, who are also demonstrating under the banner of "lack of work is a crime."