General Hugo Banzer, for seven years the military ruler of Bolivia, has gone on trial in La Paz on charges ranging from murder to political repression.
SV/CU Pro Banzer demonstrators chanting and waving flags out-side Parliament building in La Paz (3 SHOTS)
SV Guards standing on Parliament steps
GV PAN INTERIOR...Public seated in galleries inside Parliament
SV Official reading detail of charges as members listen (4 SHOTS)
SV Socialist Deputy Marcelo Quiroga speaking as crowd in galleries cheer and applaud (3 SHOTS)
SV Women official addressing galleries as crowd continues to chant while Deputy Quiroga listens (3 SHOTS)
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Background: General Hugo Banzer, for seven years the military ruler of Bolivia, has gone on trial in La Paz on charges ranging from murder to political repression. He stands accused along with another former President...in a case unprecedented in Bolivia.
SYNOPSIS: On Thursday (30 August) supporters of Ex-President Banzer demonstrated outside the Bolivia Parliament where the trial is taking place. Banzer faces charges before both houses, of crimes against national security. He's been specifically accused of allowing Chilean espionage agents to operate in Bolivia, and with handing over Bolivian nationals and foreign residents to the Chilean Military Government...knowing they'd be executed.
Banzer also faces charges of torture, killing Indian peasants and assassinating his political opponents. A group of 22 MP's from the National Democratic Alliance are defending him, but the majority of the 122 members support the trial.
The former President claims the charges are part of a political campaign against him, but says he'll accept the verdict of the people.
Banzer stands accused along with Juan Pereda Asbun, the man who ousted him in a bloodless coup, last year. Elections for a civilian President and Parliament in Bolivia were held on July first this year for the first time is a decade.