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Bolivia’s president sees off attempted coup after urging citizens to take to streets

Luis Arce said the country’s democracy was at stake after army troops seized control of La Paz’s political heart and military police storm palace

By Tom Phillips

Bolivia’s President Luis Arce appears to have seen off an attempt to topple his leftwing government after a dramatic afternoon in which heavily armed troops, seemingly commanded by a top army general, stormed the government palace before beating a retreat and seeing their alleged leader detained.

On Wednesday afternoon Arce urged citizens to take to the streets to defend the country’s democracy from an apparent coup attempt, after troops seized control of a central square in La Paz which houses government buildings.

“We need the Bolivian people to mobilise and organise themselves against this coup d’état and in favour of democracy,” Arce said in a video message filmed at the Great House of the People, the official presidential residence in Bolivia’s de facto capital of La Paz.

Flanked by members of his cabinet, Arce declared: “We cannot allow, once again, attempted coups to claim Bolivian lives.”

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