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Protesters in Honduras yesterday put up roadblocks in the capital, Tegucigalpa, as they demanded the return of the president, Manuel Zelaya, hours after he was ousted in a military coup.
Hundreds of people, some wearing masks and armed with sticks, put up barricades near the presidential palace as governments across the region condemned the first military overthrow in central America since the end of the cold war.
What has so far been a bloodless coup could yet turn lethal.
Shots were fired near the presidential palace last night,but it was unclear who was shooting or whether there were any casualties.
Soldiers seized Zelaya, who was in his pyjamas, early yesterday and took him to neighbouring Costa Rica by plane.
The 56-year-old president, looking dishevelled but calm, said he had been expelled by "rightwing oligarchs" and promised to return to Honduras.
Zelaya, who had been in office since 2006, was ousted after clashing with the judiciary, congress and the army over proposed constitutional changes that would allow presidents to seek re-election.
The US and European Union joined Latin American governments in denouncing the coup.
In Honduras, however, the establishment rallied around the army's action.
Congress named an interim president, Roberto Micheletti, who announced an immediate curfew for Sunday and Monday nights. The country's leading court said it had authorised the toppling of the president.
The protests in Tegucigalpa were small, but defiant civilians shouted insults and slapped soldiers occupying the presidential palace. Most Hondurans, who are bitterly divided over Zelaya, stayed indoors.
The deposed leader was due to meet leftwing allies in Nicaragua today for an emergency summit likely to be dominated by Zelaya's mentor, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez.
Chávez put Venezuelan troops on alert and vowed do everything necessary to restore his ally, whom he claimed may have been ousted by Washington's hand.
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It remains to be seen what Mr. Zelaya's next move will be. It's not surprising that chavistas throughout the region are claiming that he was victim of a military coup. They want to hide the fact that the military was acting on a court order to defend the rule of law and the constitution, and that the Congress asserted itself for that purpose, too.
Many Hondurans are going to be celebrating Mr. Zelaya's foreign excursion. Street protests against his heavy-handed tactics had already begun last week. On Friday a large number of military reservists took their turn. "We won't go backwards," one sign said. "We want to live in peace, freedom and development."