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Ousted president says to return to Honduras today

AFTER a week of being in exile as a result of the military coup, ousted President Manuel Zelaya is planning to return to Honduras today.

He told a local radio station that he plans to arrive with some figures of the international community and many Latin American leaders.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina are expected to be among those who will accompany the deposed president.

Thousands of Hondurans held a peaceful protest Saturday in the capital city of Tegucigalpa and marched as far as the international airport to welcome back their "democratically elected leader".

There were buses coming from other parts of the country such as Las Crusitas with Zelaya's supporters on them but they couldn't make it into the city because the Armed Forces obstructed their way.

But not everyone is enthusiastic about President Zelaya's return home. The Catholic Church has pronounced itself against it. Bishop Oscar Rodriguez, in a televised speech Saturday, asked the deposed president not to return to the country to avoid "bloodshed."

Honduras' Congress, which elected its leader Roberto Micheletti as the new president, warned that if Zelaya sets foot into Honduras he will be immediately arrested on 18 charges, including treason and abuse of authority.

The Honduran Armed Forces, the Congress and the judicial system are accusing Zelaya of trying to hold a referendum that would have allowed him to change the constitution with the final goal of seeking another term in office.

The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, Friday failed to persuade Hondurans' Congress and its interim government to immediately reinstate Zeleya.

As a result, the OAS held a meeting in Washington Saturday and expelled Honduras from the regional bloc.

Canada's minister of state of foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who was present at the meeting, also urged Zelaya not to return to Honduras, saying it is "dangerous" to do so.

But despite all warnings, the ousted president seems to be firm on his decision. His wife, Xiomara Castro, who remains in Honduras hiding in a secret place, has confirmed his determination. "Yes, I have spoken with my husband," she told local media. "He is coming."


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