Politicians on both sides of the aisle have condemned a homemade bomb attack on the La Cámpora youth movement’s offices in Bahía Blanca.
The explosion occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning, said investigators, who are probing whether the attack in the city, some 600 kilometres southwest of the capital, was politically motivated, given its targeting of the Kirchnerite youth grouping. They are checking CCTV footage from the area.
Fortunately, there were no victims or injuries from the attack.
"It is now confirmed that it was a non-regulatory explosive device with enough power to cause damage. It is a harsh and strong message of political violence, and an attack on democracy," said Federico Susbielles, the leader of the local Frente de Todos chapter.
Windows, furniture and masonry at the premises were reportedly destroyed, while part of the building’s front door was blown off its hinges. Infobae reported Wednesday that the device was controlled remotely and housed in a metal tube.
Following the attack, leaflets criticising La Cámpora and Kirchnerite politicians were found in the vicinity. Local outlets reported that the leaflets had already been circulating in the city prior to the attack.
"Now beware traitors, we know where they live. SICK!!! OF ALL OF YOU,” read one slogan, which warned this was the beginning of a "purge." The note insulted politicians, trade unionists, journalists and judges, while criticising policies that "treat us like cattle" or "take away our freedom."
The explosion on the offices came on the same day that a small group of protesters demonstrated at the Obelisk in the capital, calling for the removal of restrictions imposed to tackle the pandemic.
Bahía Blanca Mayor Héctor Gay expressed his "repudiation" of the event in a post shared via social networks. He described it as "an act of violence that threatens democracy and is against all residents and society in general."
The explosion occurred at around 3am local time and the resulting shockwaves smashed the glass of neighbouring properties.
Buenos Aires Province Development Minister Andrés Larroque, a La Cámpora leader, expressed concerns over the attack and called on Argentina’s politicians "not to naturalse these episodes of violence."
"This attack ... shows how far hate speech hat incites and supports this type of behaviour, contrary to all democratic coexistence can go," La Cámpora said in a statement posted on social networks.
Facundo Tignanelli, the president of the Frente de Todos caucus in the Buenos Aires provincial legislature, described the attack as "a very serious event."
He alleged that it "has to do with the climate of violence installed by the opposition," pointing the finger at PRO party leader Patricia Bullrich. The provincial lawmaker called on Juntos por el Cambio's leadership to "lower the decibels."
"If the political leadership transmits a speech of violence, there are people who listen to that and believe that violence is the method for resolving political differences," he said.
Juntos por el Cambio lawmaker Silvia Lospennato said in a post on Twitter that she “repudiates violence.”
“In democracy, ideas are settled at the ballot box. No more political violence in our country,” she added.
"We always have to defend peaceful democratic coexistence and move away from any act of violence," said opposition leader and Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who also condemned the attack.
The attack occurred in the middle of a nine-day mandatory confinement order imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Argentina. The country is in the grip of a brutal second wave and has registered more than 3.5 million infections and almost 75,000 deaths since March 2020.