July 24th, 2024

The Latest | Bolivia president announces new heads of armed forces

By The Associated Press on June 26, 2024.

FILE - Bolivian President Luis Arce attends an Indigenous ritual before delivering his annual state of the nation address at the presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia, Jan. 22, 2024. Armored vehicles rammed into the doors of Bolivia's government palace Wednesday, June 26, 2024, as a top government official warned of a coup attempt. (AP Photo/Juan Karita, File) (AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – Bolivian President Luis Arce said Wednesday in a video message, surrounded by his Cabinet, that he was standing firm against an attempted coup.

Armored vehicles assaulted the government palace in the South American nation. Bolivian television showed two tanks and a number of men in military uniform outside the building.

In a message on the social platform X, Arce called for democracy to be respected.

Here’s the latest: ___

Bolivia president replaces heads of the armed forces; new army commander orders troops back to barracks

Bolivian President Luis Arce has announced new heads of the army, navy and air force. That includes the position of the army general commander, Juan José Zúñiga, who appears to be leading the rebellion.

New army chief José Wilson Sánchez is ordering all mobilized troops to return to their barracks. “No one wants the images we’re seeing in the streets,” he said.

Arce said that those who rose up against him were “staining the uniform.” He vowed that democracy would be respected.

Police with riot gear have put up fences around the government palace and the plaza outside.

Video from the streets showed armored vehicles driving away from the palace, followed by troops and journalists.

___

Bolivian labor union condemns what it calls an attempted coup

The leadership of Bolivia’s largest labor union has condemned what it calls an attempted coup d’état and declared an indefinite strike of social and labor organizations in La Paz in defense of the government.

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President to Army commander: “I order you to withdraw”; army commander says he is out to “restore democracy”

Bolivian President Luis Arce has told the army general commander, who appeared to be leading the rebellion: “I am your captain, and I order you to withdraw your soldiers, and I will not allow this insubordination.”

Before entering the government palace, Juan José Zúñiga told journalists in the plaza outside that “Surely soon there will be a new Cabinet of ministers; our country, our state cannot go on like this.” Zúñiga said that “for now” he recognizes Arce as commander in chief.

Zúñiga did not explicitly say whether he is leading a coup, but in the palace, with bangs echoing behind him, he said the army was trying to “restore democracy and free our political prisoners.” ___

Armored vehicles ram the doors of the palace, and president confronts army commander

Armored vehicles rammed into the doors of Bolivia’s government palace Wednesday as President Luis Arce said the country faced an attempted coup, insisted he stands firm and urged people to mobilize.

In a video of Arce surrounded by ministers in the palace, he said: “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 organize.”

Arce confronted the general commander of the Army, Juan José Zúñiga, in the palace hallway, as shown on video on Bolivian television. “I am your captain, and I order you to withdraw your soldiers, and I will not allow this insubordination,” Arce said.

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