Honduras imposes curfew after Zelaya's return

Honduras' ousted President Manuel Zelaya and his daughter gesture to supporters from Brazil's embassy in Tegucigalpa on Monday. AP

The government's decision was televised while hundreds of Zelaya's supporters gathered outside the Brazilian Embassy where he is staying since Monday.

The government said that the curfew was imposed with an eye towards "protecting people's tranquility, lives and property". The Honduran foreign ministry sent a note of protest to the Brazilian Embassy saying Brazil would be responsible for any "violent act" occurring "inside or outside" the embassy.

The note also stated that "such interference in the private matters of Hondurans is reprehensible".Roberto Micheletti, who heads the de facto government, asked the Brazilian government to turn over Zelaya to Honduras.

Zelaya thanked Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for the support he received, though he gave no details about how he arrived in national capital Tegucigalpa.
Zelaya said that he wants "dialogue" to overcome the political crisis.

In Washington, the US State Department confirmed Zelaya's return and appealed to all sides in the dispute to "refrain from activities that could provoke violence".
"Of course, we believe that he's the democratically elected and constitutional leader of Honduras," department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

The Organisation of American States, Washington and the European Union have been pressing Micheletti to accept the accord that calls for Zelaya to return and lead a national unity government for the few months left in his term, and for a political amnesty that would protect both the coup plotters and the ousted head of state.

While Zelaya has accepted the plan, Micheletti flatly rejects the re-instatement of the elected head of state. Both the US and the EU have indicated that they will not recognise the winner of Honduras' Nov 29 presidential election unless Zelaya is restored to office.

Zelaya was arrested and expelled from the country by the military June 28, when lawmakers designated Congress speaker Micheletti as head of government.
Micheletti says Zelaya's ouster was not a coup, insisting that the soldiers who dragged him from his palace were simply enforcing a Supreme Court ban on Zelaya's planned plebiscite on the issue of revising the constitution.

While the coup leaders accuse Zelaya of seeking to extend his stay in office by this constitutional method, any such change favouring presidential re-election would not have taken place until the incumbent stepped down.

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