[News] Honduran police evict Zelaya supporters in crackdown

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Wed Sep 30 11:09:23 EDT 2009



Honduran police evict Zelaya supporters in crackdown

Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:24am EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN30200653

(For full coverage of Honduras crisis, see [ID:nN22361272])

* De facto government under pressure over civil liberties

* Ousted president Zelaya and de facto leader deadlocked

By Esteban Israel

TEGUCIGALPA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Honduran police 
on Wednesday began evicting supporters of toppled 
President Manuel Zelaya from government office 
buildings where they had holed up for three 
months to protest his ouster in a military coup.

Zelaya, who riled conservative lawmakers and 
business leaders with his ties to Venezuela's 
socialist government, was overthrown by the army 
in June. He sneaked back into the country and 
took refuge in the Brazilian Embassy a week ago.

The crackdown came after de facto leader, Roberto 
Micheletti, issued a decree suspending civil 
liberties, shut two media stations loyal to 
Zelaya and warned Brazil it had 10 days to hand 
over Zelaya to authorities or give him political asylum.

Riot police surrounded the National Agrarian 
Institute in Tegucigalpa early on Wednesday and 
cleared out 57 Zelaya supporters from the 
two-story building, where farm workers had 
protested since the June military coup.

"This is part of the decree, clear out government 
buildings," police spokesman Orlin Cerrato said. 
"We are looking at other institutions that were taken over."

A Reuters reporter at the site saw police leading 
about 10 people from the building.

Soldiers ousted Zelaya at gunpoint on June 28 and 
sent him into exile after the Supreme Court 
ordered his arrest. His critics say he broke the 
law by pushing for constitutional reforms they 
say would have lifted term limits. Zelaya denies wanting to stay in power.

The de facto government is under mounting 
pressure from the international community and 
even some local supporters to restore civil 
liberties and negotiate an end to a three-month 
crisis triggered when Zelaya was ousted.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told 
Micheletti on Tuesday to lift the restrictions 
and stop threatening Brazil's embassy.

Regional powerhouse Brazil rejects Micheletti's 
deadline and wants more international pressure to 
force a solution. The United States has demanded 
Honduras roll back the emergency measures but 
also has criticized Zelaya's return without a prior agreement.

Both sides are deadlocked over how to resolve the 
crisis. Zelaya insists he must be restored but 
Micheletti says he must face charges of treason 
and insists on elections in November.

(Reporting by Esteban Israel; writing by Patrick 
Markey in Tegucigalpa; Editing by Bill Trott)




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