Fears of Armed Uprising Prompt New Honduran Curfew

Country remains divided

Honduras' interim government ordered a new curfew just days after lifting the last one.

Roberto Micheletti, who took power from President Manuel Zelaya following a June 28 military coup, fears Zelaya supporters are plotting an armed uprising, The Associated Press reported.

"There are reports, I don't know if they are real, I haven't been officially informed, that there is a group of armed people," Micheletti said. "And that Zelaya is going to enter over the Nicaraguan border this Saturday."

Zelaya has been clear about his intent to return and has gone as far as calling for "an insurrection," saying that if Micheletti's government does not step down and reinstate him, he'll find "other measures," according to The Washington Post.

The defacto government responded by ordering all residents to remain in their homes between midnight and 5 a.m. beginning Wednesday, due to "continuing and open threats by groups looking to provoke disturbances and disorder."

On Sunday, the government lifted the curfew that was instated after Zelaya attempted a July 6 return to Honduras to reclaim his post.  The military blocked his plane's landing and violent protests resulted in the death of a 19-year-old Zelaya supporter.

Micheletti, who is filling the final six months of Zelaya's term before new elections take place, said he would consider stepping down "if at some point that decision is needed to bring peace and tranquility to the country." And as long as Zelaya is not his successor.

While the U.S. and the Organization of American States condemn the ousting of a democratically elected leader--the OAS went as far as dropping Honduras as a member state following the coup--Hondurans remain deeply divided.

Many Hondurans celebrated the ousting of Zelaya, who was exiled after planning a referendum to rewrite the constitution, disregarding a Supreme Court order. These mostly middle and upper class opponents suspected the leftest leader and close ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez intended to tweak the Constitution in order to eliminate term limits and extend his presidency. Other Hondurans are organizing for the return of their former president.

A powerful labor leader, Israel Salinas, said protesters and union leaders are planning debilitating walk outs and strikes later this week, to bring down the defacto government.  Salinas indicated that sympathetic unions in neighboring El Salvador and Nicaragua will help by blocking border crossings.

Speaking from Guatemala earlier this week, the ousted leader sent messages of encouragement to his supporters.

"I want to tell you to not leave the streets," he said.  "That is the only space that they have not taken from us."

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