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Bolivia Army General Arrested Amid Alleged Coup Attempt Concerns

Photo : AP

La Paz: Tensions escalated dramatically in Bolivia on Wednesday as armed forces pulled back from the presidential palace in La Paz amidst allegations of a coup attempt. General Juan Jose Zuniga, recently relieved of his military command, was arrested following a tumultuous day that saw military units converge on Plaza Murillo, the heart of Bolivia's government, where the presidential palace and Congress are located.

Earlier in the day, an armored vehicle forcefully breached the palace entrance as soldiers stormed inside, prompting President Luis Arce to denounce the events as an attempted coup against Bolivia's democracy. Addressing the nation from inside the besieged palace, Arce called for unity and mobilization of the Bolivian people to safeguard democratic principles.

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As the day unfolded, tensions eased somewhat with soldiers withdrawing from Plaza Murillo under police supervision. Zuniga was apprehended by Bolivian authorities, although his current whereabouts remained unclear. In response to the crisis, Arce swiftly appointed José Wilson Sanchez as the new military commander, urging calm and a return to order.

"We urge all personnel deployed on the streets to return to their units," Sanchez declared, emphasizing the need to avoid violence and uphold stability.

The international community, including the United States and regional leaders, expressed concern over the situation and called for restraint. The United States emphasized close monitoring of developments and stressed the importance of preserving Bolivia's democratic institutions.

The political turmoil in Bolivia has been building ahead of the 2025 general elections, with tensions exacerbated by internal divisions within the ruling socialist party led by ex-President Evo Morales. Morales, currently head of the MAS socialist party, condemned the military actions and pledged support for democratic processes.

Bolivia's public prosecutor's office announced plans to investigate Zuniga and others involved in the coup attempt, signaling legal repercussions for those responsible. Public figures from across the political spectrum within Bolivia, including former President Jeanine Anez, condemned the military intervention and reaffirmed their commitment to electoral democracy.

The events in La Paz underscored deep-seated political divisions in Bolivia, reflecting broader concerns about governance and stability in the lead-up to critical elections. The outcome of these developments will likely shape Bolivia's political landscape in the coming months as authorities seek to restore calm and uphold democratic norms amid ongoing challenges.

June 27, 2024 10:18 a.m. 509

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