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Ousted Honduran president back on border
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11:33, July 26, 2009

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For the second day in a row the deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya appeared Saturday on the border between Nicaragua and his country, from where he was expulsed in a coup almost a month ago.

He arrived at Honduras-Nicaragua border town Las Manos Saturdayat 1 p.m. local time (1900 GMT).

Megaphone in hand, Zelaya asked his supporters to "stand firm" as they are setting camps on the frontier till Sunday morning, hoping for more followers to join.

On Friday he, along with his media entourage, crossed the border into Honduras and stayed in the neutral zone for about an hour and half before stepped back to Nicaragua "for prudence's sake."

His "symbolic entry" as he called was criticized by many foreign leaders to be imprudent, even "reckless" as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has commented.

Ousted Honduras President Manuel Zelaya sings the national anthem at the Las Manos border station July 24, 2009

Xiomara Castro, the ousted president's wife, on Saturday told Xinhua that Zelaya is now studying alternative routes to enter the country after a month-long exile.

Honduran soldiers stand guard at the border between Nicaragua and Honduras July 24, 2009. Vowing to return home, ousted President Manuel Zelaya took a few symbolic steps inside Honduras on Friday but backed away from a confrontation with Honduran security forces waiting to arrest him

Zelaya also told local Radio Globo on Saturday that he might break into Honduran territory from other neighboring countries including El Salvador and Guatemala, or he has a helicopter to fly to San Pedro Sula, second biggest city and economic center of Honduras.

Honduran soldiers stand guard at the border between Nicaragua and Honduras July 24, 2009. Vowing to return home, ousted President Manuel Zelaya took a few symbolic steps inside Honduras on Friday but backed away from a confrontation with Honduran security forces waiting to arrest him

"We are organizing wherever we go," he said.

His wife said the ousted leader's followers, including herself, will continue waiting for his return in El Paraiso town, some 10 kilometers from the border line where they were stopped on Friday by military-police joint forces who fired tear gas towards the pro-Zelaya demonstrators.

Honduras interim president Roberto Micheletti delivers a speech at the presidential house in Tegucigalpa July 24, 2009. The Honduran Congress will meet on Monday to discuss a proposal by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to end the crisis. It is likely to reject it because it calls for the reinstatement of Zelaya, mistrusted by the ruling elite that accuses him of trying to extend presidential term limits.

On Saturday the 24-year-old Pedro Magdiel Martinez was found dead in Honduras' El Paraiso town bordering Nicaragua with clear signs of having been tortured.

Witness said the young protester was arrested on Friday by the police and disappeared ever since.

The dead victim and many other "Zelayistas" gathered on Friday in El Paraiso in an attempt to give the ousted state chief a "welcome-home," yet suffered a clash with the police under the de facto government's command.

Two have been confirmed injured in the clash by late Friday.

Meanwhile, the interim government led by former Congress Speaker Roberto Micheletti, again warned Zelaya of the 18 penal charges he would face once he enters the country, and refused to add Zelaya's return as a topic for discussion.

The interim government's Security Minister Mario Perdomo said on Saturday that they are "ready to execute the capture order" against Zelaya.

Perdomo said the triumphant lifting border chain and the few symbolic steps Zelaya took didn't count as an entry for "In reality he didn't enter the Honduran territory."

The curfew on Honduras-Nicaragua border was extended on Saturday for half a day from 6 p.m. local time (0000 GMT) to 6 a.m. (1200 GMT).

In Tegucigalpa, Micheletti's government received a visiting delegation of U.S. lawmakers, who intends to discuss the on-going crisis inside Honduras.

On June 28, a group of armed soldiers broke into Zelaya's residence and forced the leader to leave the country. While he appeared in pajamas hours later in Costa Rica, the Honduran Congress read a resignation letter allegedly by Zelaya and named Micheletti as his replacement.

Source:Xinhua



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