Honduras under curfew after coup

(AL JAZEERA)   The protesters were calling for the reinstatement of Zelaya, who was taken by soldiers from his home in his pyjamas on Sunday and sent to Costa Rica after he tried to carry out a referendum to extend his term in office.

Micheletti, from the same Liberal party as Zelaya, promised to govern with “transparency and honesty” and “work tirelessly to restore peace and tranquillity that we have lost”.

Protesters outside the presidential palace voiced
their anger at the court-backed military coup [AFP]

The newly sworn-in acting president of Honduras has imposed a two-day nationwide curfew following a military coup that sent Manuel Zelaya, the president, into exile.

Roberto Micheletti, the former parliamentary speaker who was sworn in as Zelaya’s replacement on Sunday, told a news conference that the curfew would run from 9pm (03:00 GMT) that day until 6am on Monday.

The order came as hundreds of Zelaya supporters set up barricades in the centre of the capital, Tegucigalpa, and sealed off road access to the presidential palace.

Al Jazeera’s Mariana Sanchez, reporting from the city, said that a lot of very angry people were wielding sticks and steel batons.

At one point they tried to push their way into the palace but the army inside resisted, she said.

He said Zelaya was not ousted through a coup but by a legal process.

“I came to the presidency not by a coup d’etat but by a completely legal process as set out in our laws,” Micheletti said after being sworn in by congress.

‘Kidnap victim’

“What we have done here is an act of democracy, because our army has complied with the order of the court, prosecutors and judges,” Micheletti said, winning loud applause from legislators.

Zelaya was elected for a non-renewable
four-year term in 2006 [File: AFP]

But Zelaya said he had been a “victim of kidnapping” when Honduran soldiers raided his home earlier in the day.

“They came to my house in the early hours of the morning and firing guns, they broke the doors with bayonets and threatened to shoot me,” Zelaya told Venezuela’s Telesur television station after being taken by troops to Costa Rica.

Calling for “peaceful resistance”, he said he did not “think that the whole army supported this interruption of the democratic system by capturing a president elected by the people”.

Zelaya appeared to have little support in Honduras among the military, parliament or the judiciary.

Power ‘overestimated’

Colin Harding, an expert in Latin American politics, told Al Jazeera that Zelaya had apparently overestimated his own power in pushing for the referendum.

Country facts

Second largest country in Central America
Population of 7.2 million
Second poorest country in the region
Economy forecast to grow less than two per cent this year
Relies on money from Hondurans in the US for more than 25 per cent of its gross domestic product
Former Spanish colony gained independence in 1821

“He has no support within his own party, he is opposed by congress, he is opposed by the judiciary and the military, who are not the power they used to be but have lined up against Zelaya ostensibly in defence of legality,” he said.

The supreme court said it had ordered his removal in order to protect law and order in the nation of about seven million people.

“Today’s events originate from a court order by a competent judge,” it said, adding that the armed forces “acted to defend the state of law”.

Congress said it had voted unanimously to remove Zelaya from office for his “apparent misconduct” and for “repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions”.

Zelaya, who was elected in November 2005 to a non-renewable four-year term, had sought to revise the constitution through a referendum to allow him to run again in the next elections.

The supreme court had ruled such a referendum illegal, but Zelaya had tried to press ahead with a vote on Sunday regardless, triggering the coup.

Micheletti is set to stay in office until January 27 next year, when a new president elected in elections planned for November is due to take over.

The UN General Assembly announced it would hold an emergency session on Monday to discuss the unrest in Honduras at the request of Honduran ambassador to the UN, Jorge Reina Idiaquez.


One Response to Honduras under curfew after coup

  • I think the actions that took place in Honduras are justified for the reason being that congress had previously told Zelaya that the “poll” he wanted to take place was deemed unconstitutional. The unemployment rate in the country has gone up enormously, the foreign companies conducting business have been silently pulling out over the last 2 years because Zelaya has very leftist policies. He wants to “spread the wealth” in a country that has a struggling and developing country, sounds like the beginning of communism… Add to the fact that Zelaya has been hanging around Chaves, the Castro brothers and the Zandinistas and you can clearly see what kind of intention he has… Here are some interesting facts, the ballot that were going to be used in the polls that Sunday came from VENEZUELA out of all places, and when the top Military officials refused to support the iniciative, Zelaya removed them all from their positions, how does that happen with a “Democratic President”? Dont you think this is a move to weak opposition to his Agenda? I dont think this is a coincidence. As a person with a Honduran background that has much of my family over there, I can ASURE you that most everyone in the county is at peace with what happened. Up till this moment no one has died because of the incident and only a dozen protesters have been injured due to rowdy behavior. Lets be honest, political moves such as the one that Zelaya wanted to make is what got the Castro Brothers in power, Chavez, the Zandinistas, and even Hilter in power. It starts with a “change” in the constitution and evetually robs its citizens of their rights…. As an international community, are we ready to let another country be oppressed by a tyrant? Should not the Sovereignty of Honduras be respected?

    Look at it this way, if Obama wished to hypothetically push for a bill that was deemed unconstitutional by the congress and our President tried to override their democratic decsion more than once, wouldn’t you think that the same kind of response would be evoked in the American People? After all we ARE a country that fought tooth and nail for our freedom and I am PROUD to be an American, but we should not shun a country because they choose to take actions they deemed was needed in order to protect their freedoms.

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