Bolivian coup attempt fails as armed forces pull back and top general arrested

In World


Truck rams gates of Bolivia presidential palace

An attempted military coup in Bolivia by the country’s sacked General Juan Jose Zuniga was thwarted on Wednesday as armed forces withdrew from the presidential palace in La Paz and president Luis Arce called for public and international support to defend democracy.

“We need the Bolivian people to mobilize and organize themselves against this coup d’état and in favor of democracy,” he said.

“We cannot allow, once again, attempted coups to claim Bolivian lives.”

Armored vehicles were used to ram the door of the government palace in La Paz. Mr Arce said that the coup attempt, reportedly led by the general commander of the army, failed and he replaced his military chiefs.

The president was seen on video confronting Gen Zuniga, and ordering him to stand down.

“I am your captain, and I order you to withdraw your soldiers, and I will not allow this insubordination,” Mr Arce said.

After taking over, the new head of the army ordered the troops back to bases. “I order all that are mobilised to return to their units, said the newly named army chief José Wilson Sánchez, according to the Associated Press.

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ICYMI: Bolivian president Arce thwarts coup attempt as armed forces withdraw from palace

Bolivian armed forces withdrew from the presidential palace in La Paz after president Luis Arce denounced an attempted coup led by General Juan Jose Zuniga, who had recently been stripped of his command.

Mr Arce called for public and international support to defend democracy.

Gen Zuniga’s troops had earlier stormed the palace but retreated after Arce reinstated control and swore in a new military commander, Reuters reported.

The US and regional leaders condemned the coup attempt, while ex-president Evo Morales mobilized his supporters to defend the government.

The political tension arises ahead of the 2025 general elections, with Morales planning to run against Arce.

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 07:30

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Who is Juan Jose Zuniga – army commander who led a coup in Bolivia?

A controversial figure in Bolivian politics, Juan Jose Zuniga – arrested since the attempted coup – opposes former Bolivian president Evo Morales, who still holds significant influence in the country. Current president Luis Arce is from the same party as Morales.

Zuniga has been vocal in his criticism of Mr Morales, who plans to run for president again in 2025.

The now-sacked army chief declared Mr Morales “could not be the president of this country again” and vowed not to let him “trample on the constitution and disobey the public’s mandate”.

(AP)

Accused of embezzling nearly 2.7m bolivianos [£286,421] during his military career, Gen Zuniga’s understanding of political dynamics helped him rise in the armed forces, according to according to El Deber newspaper.

Mr Morales has also accused Gen Zuniga of leading a military organisation plotting against him.

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 07:05

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Watch: Truck rams gates of Bolivia presidential palace

Truck rams gates of Bolivia presidential palace

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 06:45

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Army commander who led the coup attempt detained

Recently sacked army commander Gen Juan Jose Zuniga was detained on suspicion of terrorism and armed uprising, the Guardian reported.

On Wednesday, he led military units into Plaza Murillo in La Paz, where they stormed the presidential palace, with an armoured vehicle ramming a door and soldiers rushing inside.

By late afternoon, President Luis Arce had named Jose Wilson Sanchez Velasquez as the new military commander, who then called on the soldiers to return to their barracks and avoid bloodshed.

Meanwhile, Gen Zuniga was apprehended at the entrance to the general staff headquarters in La Paz and was seen being driven away in a white police pickup truck.

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 06:30

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Eight injured in protests following coup attempt

Bolivia’s minister of health, Maria Renee Castro, said eight people had been injured due to impact from pellets following the coup attempt and ensuing civilian protests.

Civilians gathered in protest as hooded and armed individuals surrounded the square, leading to clashes and injuries, the daily La Razon reported.

Now-sacked general Juan Jose Zuniga, who led the coup attempt, was later detained.

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 06:15

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In photos: Bolivia’s coup attempt led by Juan Jose Zuniga

(EPA)
(AP)
(EPA)

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 05:51

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Latin American leaders unite to condemn Bolivia coup attempt

Several Latin American leaders, including Mexico’s president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro, and Uruguay’s president Luis Lacalle Pou, condemned the attempted coup and expressed support for Bolivia’s president Luis Arce.

Chile’s president Gabriel Boric also condemned the use of force by a faction of Bolivia’s army, standing in support of Bolivia’s democracy. He told reporters that he “immediately” contacted his Bolivian counterpart to offer his “solidarity”.

European leaders also voiced their concerns. Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez called for respect for democracy and the rule of law, condemning the military movements in Bolivia.

The British ambassador in Bolivia, Richard Porter, echoed these sentiments. “The United Kingdom condemns any attempt to take power by unconstitutional means,” he said.

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 05:30

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Armoured vehicle breaks through door at Bolivian presidential palace as country faces coup attempt

President Luis Arce issued a video statement ordering the general commander of the Army, Juan José Zúñiga, to stand down.

“The country is facing an attempted coup d’état. Here we are, firm in Casa Grande, to confront any coup attempt. We need the Bolivian people to organise,” Mr Arce said.

Speaking to journalists outside the government building, Mr Zúñiga said that “for now” he recognizes Mr Arce as commander-in-chief.

Armoured vehicle breaks through door at Bolivian presidential palace

Armoured vehicles rammed into the doors of Bolivia’s presidential palace in La Paz on Wednesday, 26 June, during what appeared to be an attempted military coup. President Luis Arce issued a video statement ordering the general commander of the Army, Juan José Zúñiga, to stand down. “The country is facing an attempted coup d’état. Here we are, firm in Casa Grande, to confront any coup attempt. We need the Bolivian people to organise,” Mr Arce said. Speaking to journalists outside the government building, Mr Zúñiga said that “for now” he recognizes Mr Arce as commander-in-chief.

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 05:15

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Bolivia’s president raises clenched fist after failed coup

Bolivian President Luis Arce raises a clenched fist surrounded by supporters and media, outside the government palace in La Paz, Bolivia, Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Bolivian President Luis Arce raises a clenched fist surrounded by supporters and media, outside the government palace in La Paz, Bolivia, Wednesday, June 26, 2024 (AP)

Graeme Massie27 June 2024 05:02

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Army commander who led the coup attempt detained

Recently sacked army commander Gen Juan Jose Zuniga was detained on suspicion of terrorism and armed uprising, the Guardian reported.

On Wednesday, he led military units into Plaza Murillo in La Paz, where they stormed the presidential palace, with an armoured vehicle ramming a door and soldiers rushing inside.

By late afternoon, President Luis Arce had named Jose Wilson Sanchez Velasquez as the new military commander, who then called on the soldiers to return to their barracks and avoid bloodshed.

(EPA)

Meanwhile, Gen Zuniga was apprehended at the entrance to the general staff headquarters in La Paz and was seen being driven away in a white police pickup truck.

Maroosha Muzaffar27 June 2024 04:15



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