INTRODUCTION: In Bolivia, the military President General Luis Garcia Meza, has said he will continue as the nation's leader.
LA PAZ, BOLIVIA 10 JULY, 1981 ( REUTERS - DANIEL BAUER)
GV Employees from public administration marching carrying posters.
SV Women is traditional dress march past to rally.
GV PAN Crowds and banners in Plaza Murillo, listening to Garcia speaking. (3 SHOTS)
SV Meza on balcony listening to crowds chanting.
SV Supporter speaking in favour of Meza.
SV Meza speaking in Spanish.
Background: INTRODUCTION: In Bolivia, the military President General Luis Garcia Meza, has said he will continue as the nation's leader. He announced his decision in the capital, La Paz last week (10 July). Speculation over his future began in May when he said he would step down. Since then, there have been three unsuccessful attempts to overthrow him.
SYNOPSIS: President Meza at first told his countrymen he would resign next month in favour of successor chosen by the armed forces. These crowds were on their way to the Plaza Murillo in La Paz intent on making him change his mind.
Even by Bolivian standards - 189 changes of government since 19235 - President Meza's rule has been turbulent. He overthrew the constitutionally elected government about a year ago. Since then he has survived four attempts to oust his regime - three of them in the last two months.
He watched from above the Plaza as the crowds and individual speakers urged him to stay on as leader. About 20,000 people took part in the display of loyalty for the man who once said the army would rule Bolivia for 20 years of political chaos.
The President finally responded with the words his supporters wanted to hear.
President Meza said that as the people had already made up their minds he would stay on. Despite support in his own country, the President and his government had been shunned by may foreign countries. They have been accused of numerous beaches of the human rights code, corruption and official complicity in drug trafficking. Generals involved in the unsuccessful coups claimed they were seeking to establish a liberal leadership that would place Bolivia in a more favourable light. For the moment, however, it is President Luis Garcia Meza who still holds sway in one of South America's most politically unstable nations.