Bolivia attempted coup fails as military flees, leading general arrested

An apparent failed coup attempt took place on Wednesday in Bolivia, where armoured vehicles rammed into the doors of the government palace and President Luis Arce said the country stood firm against attacks on democracy. Bolivia's army chief has been arrested.

Bolivia's army chief was arrested Wednesday after sending soldiers and tanks to take up position in front of government buildings in what President Luis Arce called an attempted coup.

The troops and tanks entered Plaza Murillo, a historic square where the presidency and Congress are situated, in the afternoon, prompting global condemnation of an attack on democracy.

One of the tanks tried to break down a metal door of the presidential palace.

Surrounded by soldiers and eight tanks, the now-dismissed army chief General Juan Jose Zuniga said the "armed forces intend to restructure democracy, to make it a true democracy and not one run by the same few people for 30, 40 years."

Shortly thereafter, AFP reporters saw soldiers and tanks pulling back from the square. The uprising lasted about five hours.

Later Wednesday, Zuniga was captured and forced into a police car as he addressed reporters outside a military barracks, footage on state television showed.

"General, you are under arrest," Deputy Interior Minister Jhonny Aguilera told Zuniga.

"No one can take away the democracy we have won," Arce said from a balcony of the government palace in front of hundreds of supporters.

He also swore in new military leaders, firing Zuniga.

At a meeting Sunday, the general said, Zuniga asked Arce "so we bring out armored vehicles?" He said the president answered, "bring them out."


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