Argentine police struggle to control a crowd of supporters of ex-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner outside the courthouse where she appeared Monday to testify in her own defense in a corruption trial. Photo courtesy of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Argentine police and supporters of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner clashed after she appeared in court on Monday to face a corruption trial she has likened to political persecution.
Kirchner, president from 2007 until 2015, is accused of allocating public contracts to a businessman who allegedly laundered money to Kirchner and her late husband, former President Néstor Kirchner.
Kirchner has accused her successor, President Mauricio Macri, of plotting against her in order to distract the public from an economic crisis. She asked the presiding judge to annul the case and presented national budget documents as evidence in her defense, stating the contracts in question were approved by Argentina's bicameral Congress and auditor general, La Nación reports.
"Never in my life have I seen such a degree of persecution and cynicism," Kirchner said in a statement Monday. "Macri believes that in this way he can cover up the social and economic catastrophe."
Hundreds of Kirchner's supporters were outside of the court on Monday and some clashed with police. She accused police of using disproportionate use of force.
In July, Kirchner had her assets frozen by a Buenos Aires judge over accusations of financial irregularities in a separate investigation. She was previously charged with ordering fraudulent central bank transactions in the U.S. dollar futures market during her final months as president last year.
Some of Kirchner's closest aides are being investigated for alleged mishandling of public funds. Jose Lopez, one of Kirchner's top public works officials, was arrested on suspicion of money laundering after he was caught throwing bags filled with $9 million over the walls of a monastery in the Buenos Aires province.