BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The death of an 11-year-old girl in a drive-by robbery caught on grainy security footage in Buenos Aires on Wednesday shocked Argentina and led all major candidates to cancel their closing campaign rallies ahead of national primary elections Sunday.
Morena Domínguez was attacked by two robbers who were riding a motorcycle when she was about to get to school early Wednesday morning in the Buenos Aires district of Lanús. The attackers snatched her mobile phone, and she fell to the pavement where she was left unconscious.
She later died in a hospital, Lanus Security Minister Diego Kravetz said.
The death led to protests in Lanus, and put crime at the center of the country’s political discussion ahead of Sunday’s vote. Political campaigns that had been in full force largely came to a standstill.
Buenos Aires Gov. Axel Kicillof, who is seeking reelection, paused his campaign as did Lanus Mayor Néstor Grindetti, who is seeking to become the Buenos Aires gubernatorial candidate in the main opposition coalition.
Economy Minister Sergio Massa, who is the presidential hopeful for the ruling party, called off his closing rally scheduled for Thursday.
The two candidates who are seeking to become presidential contenders in the main opposition ticket, Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, also called off their final rallies.
Voting is mandatory in Argentina’s primaries and the results are taken in large part as a massive opinion poll that gives hints of what could happen when voters head to the polls in October.
“We can’t keep living with so much anguish and fear,” Bullrich wrote on social media. She has made her hard-on-crime stance a centerpiece of her campaign.
“There are no words for so much pain,” Larreta wrote.
The 11-year-old’s death received immediate, wall-to-wall coverage on all of the country’s news channels, claiming center stage in a campaign that had been dominated by talk of the economy in a country with an annual inflation rate of more than 100%.
Opinion polls regularly show that inflation and crime are the two main concerns of Argentines.
Robberies by motorcycle-riding thieves have become common in Buenos Aires and its suburbs.
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