Orthodox Jews arrested over wedding in Argentina

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Buenos Aires (AFP)

Eight people were detained as they were preparing to celebrate an Orthodox Jewish wedding in Buenos Aires despite a lockdown, the local public prosecutor said on Tuesday.

The wedding couple, the godparents and the rabbi who led the ceremony were arrested for "flagrantly" flouting the lockdown, the capital city's prosecutor Juan Bautista Mahiques told the A24 channel.

He said another wedding the day before and another last Wednesday in the same place were also under investigation.

The arrests came about after a video was shared of the wedding the previous Wednesday involving 150 guests in the Once neighborhood, where most of the Orthodox Jewish community lives.

Images distributed by the Jewish News Agency showed guests kissing and hugging each other.

"From the images it seems scandalous, with very little common sense, quite apart from breaking the law," said Mahiques.

He added that some guests displayed symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Eliahu Hamra, culture secretary at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, which represents part of the orthodox community, said the community "condemns this acton," blaming it on "individuals in private locations."

Argentina has been under lockdown for more than two months due to the pandemic. It has recorded more than 12,600 cases and 471 deaths.

Argentina is home to the largest Jewish community in Latin America, numbering 300,000, although very few are Orthodox.