Coup attempt fails in Bolivia as military chiefs replaced

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Bolivian authorities arrested a former general who staged a failed coup attempt Wednesday against President Luis Arce, local media reported.

Juan Jose Zuniga, who was fired earlier this week as commander of the Bolivian Army, “has tried to subvert the constitutional order,” said Deputy Interior Minister Jhonny Aguilera before Zuniga’s arrest, according to the Ahora el Pueblo newspaper.

Footage on social media showed Zuniga being forced into a police car outside a military barracks to be taken to the prosecutor’s office.

The chief prosecutor’s office said an investigation has been launched into the coup attempt and the events surrounding it.

The military uprising began in the afternoon after a tank that carried Zuniga was seen forcibly entering the presidential palace in the city of La Paz.

Arce then warned of “irregular military mobilizations” and in a speech alongside his ministers on national television minutes after the coup attempt invited citizens to mobilize against it and to defend democracy.

“Today the country once again faces interests so that democracy in Bolivia is truncated,” he said. “We need Bolivian people to organize and mobilize against the coup.”

The Bolivian head of state said the country was “going through an attempted coup d’état” led by Zuniga.

Zuniga had been removed from his position on Tuesday after a series of threats against former President Evo Morales.

Arce confronted the leader of the attempted military coup in the hallway of the government palace after an armored vehicle rammed through the entrance.

“Withdraw all these forces immediately. It’s an order,” he howled at Zuniga.

Hours earlier, Morales denounced the coup.

“The coup d’état is brewing. At this time, Armed Forces personnel and tanks are deployed in Plaza Murillo,” he said, calling on social movements to “defend democracy.”

Later, Morales said the call for mobilization was suspended, citing the withdrawal of troops who were in Murillo Square and calm that he said returned to the government headquarters.

The international community strongly condemned the seizure of the government headquarters.

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