Attempted coup in Bolivia fails as thousands of supporters of President LUIS ARCE chase soldiers away (VIDEOs)

Thursday, June 27, 2024 - A top general vowing to “restore democracy,” in Bolivia, ordered armored vehicles to ram the doors of Bolivia’s government palace on Wednesday in a coup attempt but the attempt was quickly rebuffed after supporters of President Luis Arce mobilized and chased the soldiers away.

Hours after the attempted coup, after the troops took over the presidential palace, the president named a new army commander vowing not to let go of his government.

The new commander then ordered the troops to stand down.

Hundreds of Arce’s supporters then rushed the square outside the palace, waving Bolivian flags, singing the national anthem and cheering as the soldiers’ retreated.

Army chief Gen. Juan José Zúñiga, was then arrested and the attorney general opened an investigation into the rebellion

Government Minister Eduardo del Castillo said that in addition to Zúñiga, former navy Vice Adm. Juan Arnez Salvador was taken into custody.

“What was this group’s goal? The goal was to overturn the democratically elected authority,” del Castillo told journalists in announcing the arrests.

Late Wednesday, Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo said “everything is now under control.” Surrounded by the new military chiefs appointed by Arce, Novillo said that Bolivia lived a “failed coup.”

The apparent coup attempt came as the country has faced months of tensions and political fights between Arce and his one-time ally, former leftist president Evo Morales, over control of the ruling party.

The rapidly unfolding crisis began in the early afternoon as the streets of La Paz started filling with soldiers. Arce tweeted that the troops deployment was irregular and soon he and other political figures warned of an attempted coup.

Still, the apparent attempt to depose the sitting president seemed to lack any meaningful support, and even Arce’s rivals closed ranks reject the uprising.

In a twist, General Zúñiga claimed in comments to journalists before his arrest that Arce himself told the general to storm the palace in a political move.

“The president told me: ‘The situation is very screwed up, very critical. It is necessary to prepare something to raise my popularity’,” Zúñiga quoted the Bolivian leader as saying.

Zúñiga said he asked Arce if he should “take out the armored vehicles?” and Arce replied, “Take them out.”

Justice Minister Iván Lima denied Zúñiga’s claims, saying the general was lying and trying to justify his actions for which he said he will face justice.

Prosecutors will seek the maximum sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison for Zúñiga, Lima said via the social media platform X, “for having attacked democracy and the Constitution.”

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