Bolivian politicians have called a new session of parliament -- defying Colonel Alberto Natusch, the leader of the military coup who suspended the country's legislative body.
Bolivian politicians have called a new session of parliament -- defying Colonel Alberto Natusch, the leader of the military coup who suspended the country's legislative body. On Saturday (3 November), Bolivian military leaders put pressure on Colonel Alberto Natusch to step down, but proposed two sharply differing alternatives. Presidential Palace sources said the faction led by former dictator, General Hugo Banzer, was pressing for a more radical right-wing regime. The other faction -- led by Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief, David Padilla -- wanted power returned to parliament which elected civilian Walter Guevara Arze as President in August. Colonel Natusch -- who described his policies as nationalist leftist -- was cloistered in the palace with armed forces chiefs on Saturday. The ousted President Walter Guevara Arze, announced from hiding that he would set up a clandestine government, and seek to regain power.
SYNOPSIS: After only three months of civilian rule, Bolivia is back under military rule. The coup came before dawn on Thursday (1 November) and was led by Colonel Natusch, who immediately declared himself President.
Many workers and students were arrested in La Paz and other cities, and one report said that rebel troops opened fire indiscriminately on students who were demonstrating against the take-over. Tanks and armoured cars ringed the centre of the city, while troops manned road-blocks around the city. It was Bolivia's two hundredth coup in one hundred and fifty-six years.
Colonel Natusch said he had taken over to preserve democracy and ??? the spread of anarchy. Here a solider asks a crowd to disperse quietly -- a plea received with polite applause.
Both Bolivia's main political groupings have opposed Colonel Natusch. At an extraordinary session of parliament, after the coup, the vote to reject to takeover was unanimous.
But the Colonel, who has the support of some politicians, responded by announcing the suspension of parliament and the establishment of a state of siege throughout the country. As the tanks rolled through the streets, some citizens expressed their anger by throwing rocks at the symbols of military rule.
The ousted President Guevara was a compromise leader. After an electoral stalemate which gave no party a clear majority, he had difficulty in getting solid parliamentary backing.
General Padilla -- who leads one of the armed service factions against Colonel Natusch -- wants a return to parliamentary power. He was the main force behind Bolivia's return to civilian rule, and he was the man who handed over power to Mr. Guevara three months ago.
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President Natusch says he will appoint a cabinet of eight civilians and five military officers. He believes the parliament should play an active role in the country, but should be removed from the day-to-day business of government.