The Honduran coup regime has intensified its grip on power in the face of growing pressure for restoring the elected President Manuel Zelaya. On Sunday, coup leaders issued a decree granting themselves broad authority to clamp down on free speech. Under the new rules, the regime can ban protests and suspend media outlets found to have committed “disturbances of the peace.” Meanwhile, the regime also refused entry to a delegation from the Organization of American States that had come to seek a negotiated solution to the crisis. Speaking from his hideout in the Brazilian embassy, Zelaya called for a massive national protest against the coup regime.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya: “Today is the day in which we call for peaceful resistance, for demonstrations for twenty-four continuous hours. You, my dear Hondurans, can’t lose your rights because someone, or a coup, restricts public liberties, violates human rights, murders and detains.”
Zelaya has remained in the Brazilian embassy since defiantly returning to Honduras one week ago. Coup leaders have now given Brazil a ten-day deadline to hand over Zelaya or face the embassy’s closure. Brazil has rejected the ultimatum and says Zelaya will stay as long as he needs. The coup regime issued the threat as its soldiers continued to surround the embassy and limit the delivery of supplies. On Friday, the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning the embassy siege.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice: “They condemned acts of intimidation against the Brazilian embassy and called upon the de facto government of Honduras to cease harassing the Brazilian embassy and to provide all necessary utilities and services, including water, electricity, food and continuity of communications.”
Zelaya supporters have continued to rally despite the government crackdown. On Saturday, hundreds marched in the capital demanding the coup regime’s ouster.
Protester: “There is an excitement in our people with hope that soon we will be able to reinstate constitutional order in the country. The people are constantly, permanently and positively mobilized, and, of course, peacefully.”