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Page last updated at 01:00 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 02:00 UK

Envoy to take demand to Honduras

Honduran security forces watch as Zelaya supporters march in Tegulcigalpa, 2 July
Zelaya supporters marched through the capital Tegucigalpa on Thursday

A top Latin American diplomat due to visit Honduras says he will demand the restoration of the country's deposed President, Manuel Zelaya.

Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, said he would not negotiate with the interim government.

To meet those behind last Sunday's coup would be seen as giving them legitimacy, he argued.

The interim government says that it may agree to early elections.

We are not going to Honduras to negotiate
Miguel Insulza
Secretary general
Organization of American States

It says Mr Zelaya is a criminal who was seeking to rule indefinitely but world leaders including President Barack Obama have said he remains the country's democratically elected leader.

Mr Zelaya was forced into exile last weekend after the coup, which was authorised by the Honduran supreme court.

Recent days have seen large demonstrations in Honduras both for and against the exiled president.

'Very hard'

"I will do everything I can but I think it will be very hard to turn things around in a couple of days," Mr Insulza said at a summit of Caribbean leaders in Georgetown, Guyana.

Miguel Insulza (left) meets Manuel Zelaya in Washington, 1 July
Miguel Insulza (left) says he will not negotiate with the coup leaders

"We are not going to Honduras to negotiate. We are going to Honduras to ask them to change what they have been doing."

The OAS earlier gave Honduras until the weekend to act or face suspension from the group.

Mr Zelaya delayed his planned return home on Thursday in response to the deadline.

Several hundred Zelaya supporters marched through the streets of the capital Tegucigalpa on Thursday, the BBC's Stephen Gibbs reports.

Leading the crowd were motorcyclists, many wearing masks to prevent them being recognised.

Graffiti artists joined them, stopping to write "down with the coup" and paint images of the iconic revolutionary Che Guevara on some of the capital's historic buildings.

A substantial number of the demonstrators had come from poor rural communities outside the capital.

They said Mr Zelaya had always been on their side.

The march appeared well organised, our correspondent adds.

Direct confrontation with the police and soldiers who are guarding government buildings was avoided but pamphlets were distributed, saying people had no duty to obey a government which came to power through force.

Those many Hondurans who do not agree with the protesters watched with dismay from the sidelines, our correspondent adds.

They say Mr Zelaya's supporters are a vocal, but dangerous, minority.



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