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Bolivian coup administration threatens to arrest lawmakers in armed forces row

BOLIVIA’S coup administration has threatened to arrest senators in a row over the country’s armed forces, who stormed parliament building last week, issuing an ultimatum demanding promotions are approved.

In what is seen as another flagrant attack on democracy, the demand was backed by government minister Arturo Murillo, who warned that the senate was “committing a serious crime.”

He insisted that the lower house only has to approve promotions in the armed forces, not to review anything.

Mr Murillo warned that members would be in breach of their duties and could face prison if they fail to agree the demands of the army.

“Be careful, the senators do not have diplomatic immunity; be careful that tomorrow they will be in jail and they will say it is political persecution,” he said.

When troops stormed the senate last week they demanded that it approve the promotions, giving members a week to respond positively.

But Omar Paul Aguilar, a senator for the Movement for Socialism (MAS), which has a majority in the assembly, said that the Bolivian constitution stipulated that all promotions must be debated by the senate.

He said that the proposed promotions were aimed at protecting the forces ahead of investigations into the massacre of indigenous people in Sacaba, Ovejuyo and Senkata in November 2019.

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