#VIDEO: Thirty-five years later, the 23-F attempted military coup that nearly ended Spain’s democracy

Lt. Col Antonio Tejero leads Civil Guard troops in failed 1981 coup attempt. Photo: El Confidencial
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• Guardia Civil officers’ 1981 attempt to takeover Congress thwarted •

In recent weeks, many political commentators have remarked that the current struggle by Spain’s political parties to put together the next government marks the most important crossroads in the country’s modern democracy since political leaders and then-King Juan Carlos faced down an attempted military coup d’état on Feb. 23rd 1981.

Known popularly as 23-F in Spain, the coup occurred just a half dozen years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco and began when a group of 200 Guardia Civil officers burst into the Spanish Congress and ordered everyone to get down on the ground, firing guns into the air and threatening to shoot anyone who moved with the machine guns they were carrying.

Then-President Adolfo Suarez bravely refused to get to the ground, arguing with the leader of the troops, Lt. Col. Antonio Tejero, and following a nationally televised address by King Juan Carlos denouncing the military action and calling for respect for the Constitution, the coup failed after 18 hours with the surrender of the troops involved.

► Read More in Spanish at El Día and El Periódico …

► Read More in English at El País …


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