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The BBC's Stephen Cviic in Sao Paolo
"Most army commanders have remained loyal to the President"
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The BBC's Andrea Machain reports from Asuncion
"This is Oviedo's third coup attempt in seven years"
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Friday, 19 May, 2000, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Paraguay uprising foiled
A Paraguayan army tank heads into Asuncion during the revolt
An army tank heads into Asuncion during the revolt
President Luis Gonzalez Macchi says an attempt by supporters of a fugitive former army chief to overthrow his government has been defeated.

"The situation is totally under control. We are going to be relentless in applying the law to all those who have violated the law and the constitution," he told a local television channel.

A Paraguayan military spokesman said the rebels had agreed to surrender after retreating from the centre of the capital, Asuncion, to a military base outside the city.

"These supposed coup-plotters have agreed to come to an accord. The situation is controlled," said Colonel Carlos Socrates Ramirez.

Reports from Asuncion say the city is now quiet and five rebel officers have been arrested.

Defence Minister Nelson Argana said earlier that three army regiments had taken part in the uprising, in support of a fugitive army commander, General Lino Oviedo.

General Oviedo has been on the run since being accused of involvement in the assassination of the vice-president in 1998.

Tank fire

Rebel tanks entered the capital and fired on Congress buildings, causing extensive damage but no reported casualties.

They later retreated, pursued by air force planes.

The Paraguayan police headquarters was also briefly under rebel control, but was later recaptured by loyalist forces.

We are going to be relentless in applying the law to all those who have violated the law and the constitution

President Macchi
Several radio stations were taken over by the rebels, who broadcast statements denouncing President Macchi, and calling for fresh elections.

The president issued a statement on another radio station, saying his forces were still in control of the situation.

Speaking on Paraguayan Nanduti radio, he said: "I urge the citizenry to remain calm and alert to defend the constitution, the institutions, and civilised coexistence."


The Mexican news agency Notimex reported from Asuncion that supporters of General Oviedo had taken over the First Army Corps, the First Cavalry Division, and the National Police.

Congress building in Asuncion
The Congress building was shelled

But loyalist troops had apparently stepped up security at the Government Palace before the uprising.

Senator Francisco Jose De Vargas told Paraguayan radio that the authorities had learned of the plan a few days ago, and had taken precautions.

As intermittent fighting continued, most army brigades declared their support for the government.

This was General Oviedo's third coup attempt in seven years, and a BBC correspondent in Asuncion says it may have been a last desperate attempt to gain power by force.

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