BUENOS AIRES, Aug 28 — Thousands of followers of Argentina's former president and current Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took to the streets in her defense yesterday, days after two prosecutors called for a 12-year prison sentence and a ban on public office for alleged corruption during her government.

Prosecutors accused Fernandez de Kirchner on Monday of defrauding the state and involvement in a scheme to divert public funds while president between 2007 and 2015.

Saturday's largest demonstration took place outside the vice president's home in the elegant Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta, where in the early morning hours police set up fences in an effort to prevent a large gathering.

In the afternoon, the demonstrators, who claim that Fernandez de Kirchner is the victim of judicial persecution and that the fences were erected by Buenos Aires' opposition mayor as a provocation, tore down the barriers and clashed with police. Hydrant trucks tried to disperse the crowds with water.

According to local media, five police officers were injured and four protesters were arrested.

"Today I woke up with the corner of my house literally besieged (...) They want to ban demonstrations of love and support that are absolutely peaceful and joyful, which are taking place in the face of the judiciary's already undeniable persecution," Fernandez de Kirchner said in a tweet.

In a sign of support, President Alberto Fernandez shared the message on his own Twitter account.

Fernandez de Kirchner leads the most hardline wing of the center-left Peronist coalition that has governed Argentina since the end of 2019.

The verdict and potential sentence will be decided by a judge, which could take months, though Fernandez de Kirchner could appeal any decision, possibly delaying the final verdict for years. — Reuters