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Deposed, legitimate president Manual Zelaya of Honduras returned to his country and took shelter in the Brazilian Embassy, where he remains. Thousands of Hondurans rushed into the streets to support his return. And now, the golpistas have unleashed the expected repression.
Please join me on the streets of Tegucigalpa.
The New York Times reports:
Police officers used tear gas in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, early Tuesday to disperse thousands of backers of Manuel Zelaya, the deposed leader, outside the Brazilian Embassy, where he was seeking refuge after sneaking back into the country the day before, according to witnesses and news reports.
The de facto government had declared a curfew Monday after learning that Mr. Zelaya, who was expelled three months ago in a dawn coup, had re-entered surreptitiously to rally his supporters and confront the officials who had arranged his removal. After backers of Mr. Zelaya defied the order to stay off the streets, heavily armed riot police officers and soldiers forced them to scatter and took up positions around the embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital.
At least two tear-gas canisters landed inside the embassy compound, Reuters reported, and Mr. Zelaya said in a television interview with Telesur, a Venezuelan broadcaster, that he foresaw “bigger acts of aggression and violence” by the de facto government and possibly even an invasion of the Brazilian Embassy. Tegucigalpa’s main hospital treated 20 people injured in the scuffle, some with broken legs and arms and head wounds but none in serious condition, Reuters reported.
The entire country remains under a curfew.
Apparently, Zelaya’s fifteen hour trek through the jungle to Tegucigalpa caught the golpista’s by surprise:
His return appeared to have caught the de facto government by surprise. Roberto Micheletti, who was appointed president by Congress, at first denied that Mr. Zelaya had returned, calling the reports “media terrorism.”
But on Monday evening, after imposing a nationwide curfew, he acknowledged Mr. Zelaya’s presence but said it “changes nothing of our reality.” He called on Brazil to hand Mr. Zelaya over for arrest and trial.
“We are waiting for him,” Mr. Micheletti said in a news conference earlier in the day. “A court is ready to proceed against him legally, and a jail is also ready.”
Despite the golpistas posturing, Brazil stands firm in its providing asylum. The European Union has called for calm. Oscar Arias has offered to continue to mediate between the sides, although his previous efforts produced no substantial result. And Hilary Clinton
said Monday evening that the two sides must find a way to talk. “It’s imperative that dialogue begin,” she said. “It’s also imperative that the return of President Zelaya does not lead to any conflict or violence, but instead that everyone act in a peaceful way to try to find some common ground.”
This statement by the US is predictably weak tea. The coup has been ongoing since the end of June. There’s been talk, but no real support for Zelaya. Funds for Honduras were cut off pending a decision on whether the golpistas action of seizing the president at gun point, putting him on an airplane while he was still in his pajamas, and flying him out of the country might have been a coup. And despite seeming US support for Zelaya, the International Monetary Fund last week gave $164 million to the coup government.
As Robert Naiman argued earlier today, now’s the time to restore Zelaya to the presidency. Enough of the footdragging.
simulposted at The Dream Antilles