x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Exiled Honduran president to set up camp on border

Deposed president Manuel Zelaya returns to the Honduran border, declaring he will set up camp there.

LAS MANOS, NICARAGUA // The deposed president Manuel Zelaya returned to the Honduran border yesterday and announced he would set up camp there, despite foreign leaders urging him not to force a confrontation with the government that ousted him in last month's coup. Mr Zelaya arrived at a rural frontier crossing and immediately grabbed a megaphone, shouting to a crowd of 150 supporters and about as many journalists. He vowed to wait near the border and demanded his family be allowed to meet him.

"Today we are going to set up camps here, with water and food. We are going to stay here this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow morning," Mr Zelaya told the crowd. Mr Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro, told CNN by telephone that she was stopped at a roadblock on a road leading to the border and that police and soldiers would not let her and others pass. Mr Zelaya says he is going to commute back and forth between the border crossing and the Nicaraguan town of El Ocotal, about 25 miles down the road, and probably will not try another border crossing like the brief, symbolic trip a few metres into Honduran territory he performed on Friday.

On Friday, Mr Zelaya triumphantly lifted a chain marking the frontier and took a few strides into Honduran territory, where the interim government has charged him with violating the constitution and has vowed to arrest him. He retreated into Nicaragua less than 30 minutes later. Soldiers did not approach him on Friday at the remote mountain border crossing. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the trip "reckless" and said it would not help restore democratic and constitutional order. Mr Zelaya is demanding he be reinstated as president following the coup, which has been widely repudiated around the globe.

* AP