Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (R) points at a board reading "Welcome to Honduras!" at the border between Honduras and Nicaragua of Las Manos in Honduras, on July 24, 2009. Zelaya returned Friday to Nicaragua after staying two hours in Honduras at the border point of Las Manos. (Xinhua/David De La Paz)
MANAGUA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya returned on Friday to Nicaragua after staying briefly in Honduras at the border town of Las Manos.
Zelaya, in exile since June 28, returned to Nicaragua to wait for a reply from the Honduran military chief General Romero Vazquez. The ousted president proposed talks to solve the political crisis in country.
After crossing the borderline into Honduras from the Nicaraguan side, Zelaya sent a message to Vazquez, proposing to meet the general at a border crossing to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
"I cannot govern with the strong opposition from the groups of power, and they cannot do it with the opposition from the people," Zelaya said in a live radio broadcast speech from the border zone.
Zelaya said that he was also waiting for his family who were trying to reach the border.
"I will be here waiting for the Army to let my relatives pass and also for the soldiers to depose the weapons pointing against my people," he said in an interview with Telesur TV chain.
On Friday, at least three clashes broke out between Zelaya's supporters and security forces in the border areas, despite the curfew imposed from 6:00 p.m. local time (2400 GMT) to 6:00 a.m. (1200 GMT), and 12:00 p.m. (0600 GMT) to 4:30 a.m. (1030 GMT) in the rest of the country.
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (C) holds up the chain which mark the border between Honduras and Nicaragua with his supporters at the border point of Las Manos in Honduras, on July 24, 2009. (Xinhua/David De La Paz)
Xinhua correspondents covering the event at La Manos saw soldiers and police fired warning shots into the air and hurled tear gas at the crowd, causing chaos on the scene.
Moreover, the Honduran military threw up barricades, blocking some 2,000 people from reaching the Honduras-Nicaragua border.
Police had set up checking points along the road from Tegucigalpa to the border areas to prevent Zalaya's supporters from joining the protest in border areas by taking public transportation.
On the same day, supporters of the interim government staged a massive march to support post-coup leader Roberto Micheletti and reject Zelaya's return.
The march, meant to offset the possible impact of Zelaya's return, was organized by a group called Democratic Civic Unit in San Pedro Sula, 178 km northeast to the capital of Tegucigalpa.
Lead organizer Leonel Ayala said that the march is meant to "tell the world that in Honduras we have had a constitutional transition."
"We do not want the interference of a president who violated the Constitution," Ayala said, adding that "what happened in Honduras must be heard and with sobriety, in a real form."
Honduran interim Foreign Minister Carlos Lopez said on Friday that the arrest warrant against Zelaya would be made valid.
Zelaya will be detained and taken to court, Lopez said, adding that the interim government will guarantee safety for him and the legal procedures will be open to international observers.
"Zelaya has two options, to be outside (the country) or to enter and be judged," Lopez told a press conference at the Foreign Ministry building in Tegucigalpa.
However, Zelaya was not detained in the border zone as the interim government said. He later returned to Nicaragua.
Lopez on Friday criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for interfering in Honduras' internal affairs by supporting Zelaya.
Lopez also called the international community to join the talks as observers to solve the crisis in Honduras.
The South American Common Market (Mercosur), a regional trading bloc, strongly condemned the coup in Honduras during its summit meeting on Friday and refused to recognize the legitimacy of the country's interim government.
The Mercosur expressed support and solidarity with the Honduran people, saying that the organization will not accept any unilateral act by the country's interim authorities.
In a joint statement issued on Friday, Mercosur members demanded the immediate restoration of public order and democracy in Honduras.
"The constitutional and legitimate government in Honduras is the one led by the President Manuel Zelaya," the organization said in the statement.
During the summit held in Asuncion, the capital city of Paraguaya, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said Chile would only accept the reinstallation of Zelaya as a solution to solve the crisis.
Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez demanded during the summit the immediate restitution of the Honduran democratic system, saying that the elections called by the interim government is illegal.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also called for the return of Zelaya to presidency as soon as possible. He asked the international community not to give up their efforts to strive for Zelaya's reinstatement in power.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the Mercosur must make an effort to avoid coups to help maintain stability in Latin America.
The Organization of American States has officially expelled Honduras and the European Union has cut off its aid to the country.
Zelaya talks with Honduran Army officer at border line
Honduras' ousted President Manuel Zelaya arrives at the Honduras embassy in Managua July 23, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
MANAGUA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Friday crossed the border between Nicaragua and Honduras with few steps.
Zelaya together with his Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas crossed the line and apparently he talked by phone with a high level officer from the Honduran Army. Full story
Honduran interim government orders border curfew, conflicts erupt in some areas
TEGUCIGALPA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Honduras' post-coup interim government on Friday imposed an emergency curfew on the country's southern border with Nicaragua and western border with EL Salvador, apparently aimed at blocking any possible attempt to return by ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
The curfew at the bordering areas will be from 12:00 a.m. on Friday (1800 GMT) to 06:00 a.m. local time of Saturday (1200 GMT).For the rest of the country the coup will be from 00:00 a.m. (0600GMT) to 06:00 a.m. local time (1200 GMT). Full story
Zelaya urges soldiers to defend democracy in Honduras
MANAGUA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya urged on Friday the Honduran soldiers to defend the democracy in the country by rejecting the coup made against him onJune 28.
"I want to tell the soldiers from Honduras that the future of our country is on risk. Soldiers from my homeland: defend your democracy, reject this coup," Zelaya said on Friday in Nicaragua before starting his return back home. Full story
Honduran soldiers use tear gas against Zelaya's supporters
TEGUCIGALPA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The Honduran soldiers and policemen guarding the country's border with Nicaragua on Friday used tear gas against the supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, to stop them from crossing the border in Las Manos sector.
"The repression from these policemen began, the people begin to run from one side to another, the violence has been untied, we try to protect ourselves," said Gustavo Ramos, a reporter for the local "Radio Globo", while reporting on the scene from La Manos, some 125 km east of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. Full story