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Army Storms Bolivia’s Presidential Palace in Attempted Coup

soldiers gather outside the presidential palace in La Paz on June 26. [AP Courtesy Photo]

Bolivia – Bolivia’s presidential palace has been rammed by an armoured vehicle, with soldiers reportedly storming the inside as the country’s ex-president warned of an unfolding “coup”.

President Luis Arce demanded democracy be “respected”, while former president Evo Morales accused General Juan José Zúñiga of planning to seize power, calling on supporters to strike and block roads.

The El Deber newspaper quoted Gen Zúñiga as telling reporters from Murillo Square after it was taken by troops: “We are going to recover this homeland.”

But President Arce denounced what he called “irregular” troop movements, saying “democracy must be respected”.

In more pointed language, Mr Morales wrote: “A group of the Challapata Special Regiment ‘Mendez Arcos’ took over Plaza Murillo with snipers.

“This seems to indicate that they prepared the coup d’état in advance.

“I ask democratically-minded people to defend the homeland from certain military groups that act against democracy and the people.”

Bolivian minister Maria Nela Prada published a video on her Facebook account showing the view from a window in a government building.

She said she was witnessing a “coup attempt”.

“I’m in the palace of the people. As you can see this is the Plaza Murillo taken by armed tanks and troops. We understand it is a faction of the military,” she said.

She said military units had taken positions at all four corners of the square and were not letting anyone enter.

“They launched this operation in a totally irregular manner,” she said.

Mr Morales, the first president to come from Bolivia’s indigenous majority, carried out a radical programme after winning power in 2005, aimed at addressing extreme social divisions and inequalities.

He resigned in 2019 and was succeeded by opposition senator Jeanine Áñez, who declared herself interim president in November 2019.

Mr Arce won the October 2020 presidential election, returning the Mas socialist party to power.

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Derrick Kanalo
the authorDerrick Kanalo
News Reporter/ Editor
Am a professionally trained and well skilled media personality. Accuracy is part of my top priority as a journalist.