HONDURAS was under lockdown last night as the coup leaders attempted to return the country to a state of order, while the ousted left-wing President Manuel Zelaya continued his efforts to return home.
The main airport in the capital Tegucigalpa was closed to all flights for at least 24 hours, while thousands of policemen and soldiers swamped the city to clear protesters from the streets. A sunset-to-sunrise curfew, starting at 6.30pm, will be in force for the remainder of the week.
Mr Zelaya began the day in El Salvador, where he ended up on Sunday following an unsuccessful attempt to land at the airport in a borrowed jet.
The failed homecoming significantly raised the stakes in the crisis, since it resulted in the first deaths since the coup on June 27.
Two demonstrators were killed when soldiers fired on crowds trying to break down a perimeter fence and storm the runway.
At a news conference late that night, Mr Zelaya insisted he was hoping to "resolve the problems without violence", and urged the world to "do something with this repressive regime".
The country's interim president, Roberto Micheletti, who was installed by the leaders of the coup, is refusing to negotiate until "things return to normal".
"We will be here until the country calms down. We are the representatives of the people," he said. (© Independent News Service)