Mon, Aug 03, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Pro-Zelaya teacher dies after being shot

RESISTANCE: The ousted Honduran president told his supporters in Nicaragua that the people have the right to insurrection when someone takes power by force of arms

AFP AND AP , TEGUCIGALPA

A supporter of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya sits next to effigies depicting Honduran interim President Roberto Micheletti, front, Cardinal Orcar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga and former president Carlos Flores, back, as he attends a public meeting at the Francisco Morazan square in Tegucigalpa on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

A Honduran teacher died three days after he was shot in the head while protesting the ouster of president Manuel Zelaya, as the military-backed regime threatened to crackdown on future demonstrations.

Roger Abraham Vallejo, 38, who was shot on Wednesday during a protest in the Mercado Zonal Belen, in northern Tegucigalpa, succumbed to his injury on Saturday.

Witnesses have said he was shot when hundreds of police officers charged a crowd of pro-Zelaya marchers. Police allege he was shot by his fellow protesters.

“All I know is that the police killed him for struggling for a just cause,” his 78 year-old mother Maria Soriano said, as hundreds of Zelaya sympathizers crammed into a hall to mourn Vallejo.

Vallejo became the third Zelaya supporter killed since the leftist president was bundled out of his bed gunpoint and kicked out of the country in a military-supported June 28 coup.

“The blood that is being spilled will not be in vain, because we are going to fight tirelessly” to reverse the military-supported coup, said Zelaya, from the Nicaraguan town of Ocotal, on the border with Honduras.

“The people have the right to insurrection when someone takes power by force of arms, and we are using that right,” Zelaya said.

He is organizing what he has called his “Popular Peaceful Army,” made up of hundreds of Hondurans who crossed into Nicaragua to support his cause. On Friday he threatened the interim Honduran regime with “generalized violence” if the coup was not reversed.

Honduran police, perhaps anticipating further clashes, issued a warning late on Saturday that they would fully enforce the penal code forbidding protest marches “when they could affect free circulation and the rights of others.”

People who organize or lead “in an illicit manner any demonstration” face up to four years prison and hefty fines, the statement read.

The coup has been roundly condemned abroad, and the regime, headed by acting president Roberto Micheletti, has been trying to find a peaceful solution to the crisis that does not involve restoring Zelaya to power.

Micheletti said he was surprised that Zelaya had taken to the hills and “called for an insurrection.”

Micheletti said in a televised address on Saturday that his government is resisting “with pride” the international condemnation and sanctions that have included the suspension of aid programs and freezing of military assistance.

He also reiterated that his government reserves the right to cancel visas for US diplomats after Washington revoked the diplomatic visas of four officials in his government.

Meanwhile representatives of foreign human rights groups visiting Honduras called on authorities to “respect” the demonstrators, including activists from Spain, Argentina, Brazil, France and El Salvador.

over a week ago with Zelaya who stepped across the border but turned back in the face of Honduran riot police.

On Friday, Zelaya’s militia in training chanted “Down with the coup plotters!” as they went through their drills. The volunteers did their best to follow unfamiliar maneuvers like moving quickly while on all fours.

The lone woman lagged behind her male colleagues, then seemed to have a leg cramp. She dropped out of the exercise and opted to do some abdominals instead.

Most of the would-be troops were young and strong-looking if a bit out of shape. One jogged around, trying to embarrass laggards into getting back on the training track, shouting, “You are here to train!”

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