On 23 February 1981, Col. Antonio Tejero entered the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, with 200 Guardia Civil and soldiers and held the depuities present hostage for some 22 hours. When it came down to it, Juan Carlos, who had been carefully maneuvered to play a modest role within the Francoist dictatorship, firmly stood his ground.
Within half an hour of the Guardia Civil’s attack, both the conspirators and the king were telephoning the country’s military leaders. The coup leaders were asking for the military’s support ”in the name of the king”. Juan Carlos insisted that he was on the other side, informed general after general that his name was being used in vain, and told to accept no orders unless they came from the chiefs of the general staff.
Spain’s transition from Franco to democracy.