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Argentine rabbi leads anti-violence protest

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BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — An Argentine rabbi led a demonstration in Buenos Aires against violence in the country.

Sergio Bergman, along with the priest Guillermo Marco of the Buenos Aires Archiepiscopal, led the rally Thursday in a downtown square calling for a safer country.

Angry about the large number of street murders as a consequence of robberies, some 10,000 demonstrators in the Plaza de Mayo responded to the call “Shall we say stop. For more and better security.”

“There is an Argentina and it can be a republic after Nestor,” said Bergman, referring to former president Nestor Kirchner.

Kirchner is the husband of the current  president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, but is the official who handles the country’s public safety, according to reports.

A truly democratic federal republic does not rest on political parties, said Bergman, who has become an increasingly influential political figure.

“It is on you to participate, to stop napping and participate,” the rabbi, 46, told the crowd.

While his leadership is debatable inside the Jewish community, Bergman has become a civil activist in Argentine society. He appears frequently on political television programs and in newspaper interviews.

Bergman is the spiritual leader at the first Argentine synagogue, Libertad Temple.

The Plaza de Mayo, a major tourist attraction in Buenos Aires, is the center of political activism in the Argentine capital.

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