Fri, Jul 17, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Interim Honduran leader sets curfew, exit conditions

‘FOR PEACE' The statements from Roberto Micheletti indicated a softening of his position since mediated talks last week failed to find a resolution to the conflict

AFP , TEGUCIGALPA

Interim Honduran leader Roberto Micheletti reimposed a late-night curfew beginning yesterday in a bid to curb disturbances from supporters of ousted president Manuel Zelaya.

The reinstatement of the curfew, which became effective between midnight and 5am, came after Micheletti said he would be prepared to step down, but only if Zelaya does not return to power.

“For peace and tranquility in the country ... without the return of ex-president Zelaya, I would be ready to do it,” he said on Wednesday.

The comments appeared to be a softening of his position since talks to resolve the country’s crisis were adjourned last week without any resolution, as the coup leaders insisted they would remain in power.

Micheletti confirmed that he would not return to San Jose, where Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has mediated talks between the rival leaders, for a new series of meetings later this week, leaving the job instead to his team of negotiators.

Since his ousting, Zelaya has tried to garner the backing of regional powers and rally his supporters back home, at one point making an aborted attempt to return and on Tuesday calling for a popular insurrection.

Speaking from Guatemala, Zelaya described insurrection as a legitimate democratic right “when faced with a usurping government and a coup-supporting military,” and urged his supporters in Honduras to strike, march and engage in civil disobedience.

But the “insurrection” never materialized on Wednesday, although some 5,000 Zelaya supporters took to the streets in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, organizers said.

They had planned massive protests and roadblocks throughout the country for yesterday and today, leading Micheletti to renew the curfew that had first been imposed after Zelaya’s ouster and was suspended on Saturday.

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