Bolivians' quick response helps foil coup attempt: Govt official

by IANS |

Bolivians' quick response helps foil coup attempt: Govt official La Paz, June 28 (IANS) The attempted coup against Bolivian President Luis Arce was foiled by the immediate and spontaneous response of the people, social organisations and political leaders, a senior Bolivian official. Speaking at the 54th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) held in Asuncion, Paraguay, Bolivia's ambassador to the agency, Hector Arce, said the "brave and determined" stance of President Arce, who personally confronted the coup leader, former army commander Gen. Juan Jose Zuniga, was also decisive in quashing Wednesday's insurrection, reports Xinhua news agency. In addition, he noted the general lack of support from the military for Zuniga, firm international condemnation and the immediate backing of presidents and governments of various countries and international organisations. The Bolivian ambassador expressed his deep gratitude to the international community for its determined support and highlighted the Bolivian public's strong commitment to democracy. Earlier on Thursday, as many as 17 people, mostly members of the military, were arrested in Bolivia for their role in a failed coup, Government Minister Eduardo Del Castillo has said. On Wednesday, hundreds of soldiers led by General Juan Jose Zuniga marched on Murillo Square, the epicentre of Bolivia's political power, and forced their way into the old Government Palace in a failed bid to oust President Luis Arce from office. Immediate measures by the new army commander, Jose Sanchez, who ordered the troops to return to their units and reaffirmed support for the government, were crucial to stabilising the situation. Additionally, President Arce on Wednesday denounced the attempted coup, emphasising that "democracy must be respected." --IANS int/sd/svn

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