Curfew imposed after Honduras protests

AP, The Independent, Aug. 12, 2009

Honduras' interim government reinstated a nighttime curfew for the capital after thousands of anti-coup protesters marched into Tegucigalpa to demand the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

The government said it reinstated the curfew after protesters burned a bus and an outlet of an American fast food chain.

Information Minister Rene Zepeda said the curfew would be in effect from 10pm to 5am, and would apply only to the capital.

Attempts to resolve the dispute over the June 28 coup that ousted Mr Zelaya also suffered a setback when Nobel Peace laureate and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias - who has acted a mediator in talks between the two sides - announced that he has swine flu.

The protesters arrived in Tegucigalpa yesterday after staging weeklong walks across Honduras, producing one of the largest demonstrations in support of Mr Zelaya since he was ousted.

Mr Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro, welcomed a long column of about 10,000 protesters carrying Honduran flags and signs denouncing interim President Roberto Micheletti.

"It's been 45 days of resistance and the people are still on the streets," Ms Castro told the crowd. "This has transcended the history of our country."

An additional 4,000 Zelaya supporters gathered in San Pedro Sula, the country's second largest city.

Soldiers arrested Mr Zelaya and flew him into exile in Costa Rica after he ignored a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum asking Hondurans if they wanted a special assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Mr Zelaya is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election. Opponents say his real motive for the referendum was to abolish term limits so he could run again. Mr Zelaya denies that was his intention.

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