Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | July 6, 2009
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Ousted president forced to re-route



Ousted President Manuel Zelaya was kept from landing at the main Honduras airport yesterday evening because the runway was blocked by groups of soldiers with military vehicles, some of them lined up against a crowd of thousands outside. His Venezuelan pilot circled around the airport and decided not to risk a crash.

Zelaya landed in Nicaragua and then flew to El Salvador, vowing to try again today or tomorrow in his high-stakes effort to return to power in a country where all branches of government have lined up against him, including the military that shot up his house and sent him into exile in his pyjamas a week earlier.

Tone of defiance

Despite global outcry and Saturday's suspension of Honduras from the Organisation of American States, interim President Roberto Micheletti insisted on preventing the plane from landing, saying he would not negotiate until "things return to normal".

"We will be here until the country calms down," Micheletti said. "We are the authentic representatives of the people."

Violence broke out among the huge crowd surrounding the airport, with at least one man killed - shot in the head from inside the airport as people tried to break through a security fence, according to an Associated Press photographer. At least 30 people were treated for injuries, the Red Cross said, after security forces fired warning shots and tear gas.

Honduras' new government has vowed to arrest Zelaya for 18 alleged criminal acts, including treason and failing to implement laws approved by Congress since taking office.

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