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Soldiers block the street in front of the presidential palace, right, and the Legislative Assembly, left, in Plaza Murillo in La Paz, Bolivia, on June 26, 2024. (Juan Karita/AP via CNN Newsource)

Military attempts coup in Bolivia

June 26, 2024

By Tara John and Abel Alvarado, CNN

(CNN) — Bolivia’s President Luis Arce called on the country to “organize and mobilize against the coup d’état, in favor of democracy” after soldiers and armored military vehicles positioned themselves around governmental buildings in La Paz on Wednesday.

“We cannot allow coup attempts to take Bolivian lives once again. We want to urge everyone to defend democracy,” Arce said from the presidential residence, Casa Grande.

According to footage from the scene, armed soldiers gathered around Murillo Plaza, a main square in La Paz where the national executive and legislative offices are located. CNN is trying to contact Bolivia’s government for comment.

Armored vehicles were seen ramming into the doors of Bolivia’s government palace, according to Associated Press, as the country’s former President Evo Morales, who, like the incumbent, is in Bolivia’s Movement to Socialism (MAS) party, said on X that a “coup d’état is brewing.”

Morales, who publicly split from his one-time ally Arce, also called on “the social movements of the countryside and the city to defend democracy.” Morales resigned in 2019 following mounting protests over accusations of fraud in the elections; at the time, he claimed he was forced out in a coup.

Bolivia’s Vice President David Choquehuanca denounced the “coup d’état in Bolivia” against the country’s democratically elected government on Wednesday.

International leaders including Paraguay’s President Santiago Peña and the European Union condemned the attempted coup.

The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), a pan-American organization, Luis Almagro, condemned the mobilizations in the “most energetic way” on X, saying the “army must submit to the legitimately elected civil power.”

The European Union said it opposed “any attempt to disrupt the constitutional order in Bolivia and overthrow democratically elected governments,” adding it stands in solidarity with the Bolivian government and its people, according to a post from European policy chief Josep Borrell on X.

According to state media agency ABI, the military mobilization began around 2:30 p.m. local time.

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