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Page last updated at 19:39 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:39 UK

Honduras lifts three-day curfew

People sleep on the floor of the Brazilian embassy
Conditions inside the embassy are cramped and getting worse

The interim government of Honduras has lifted the curfew imposed on Monday when ousted President Manuel Zelaya made a dramatic return home.

But hundreds of police still surround the Brazilian embassy in the capital, where Mr Zelaya has taken refuge.

The interim authorities are refusing to reinstate him despite growing calls.

The International Monetary Fund has meanwhile announced it still recognises Mr Zelaya as president, in effect denying the new regime access to funds.

The decision was taken after consultation with member states, the IMF said in a statement.

Mr Zelaya's dramatic return after three months in exile prompted the interim government, led by Roberto Micheletti, to declare a nationwide curfew amid fears of violence.

The curfew has been lifted and the first thing I want to do is go have coffee with my boyfriend, who I haven't seen for three days
Gabriela Diaz
Tegucigalpa resident

Mr Zelaya says 10 of his supporters have died in clashes with the security forces this week, but he has given no details.

Police said at least one person had been killed.

During a brief respite from the curfew on Wednesday, people rushed to the shops and petrol stations to stock up on supplies.

"We're going to buy food for a week, because as things are, who knows how long this situation will last," Fernando Alvarenga, a 21-year-old student, told BBC Mundo.

"This is too much, we can't go on like this. I couldn't work yesterday, so how am I going to feed my children," said taxi driver Pedro Valladares.

The lifting of the curfew from 0600 local time (1200GMT) on Thursday appears to be an attempt by the authorities to return to some kind of normality.

Streets were busy and airports were reopened after the measures which had kept Hondurans indoors for most of the week ended early morning local time.

But in reality the situation in Honduras has been far from normal since 28 June when Mr Zelaya was sent into exile, says BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace in Tegucigalpa.

TIMELINE: ZELAYA OUSTED
28 June: Zelaya forced out of country at gunpoint
5 July: A dramatic bid by Zelaya to return home by plane fails after the runway at Tegucigalpa airport is blocked
25-26 July: Zelaya briefly crosses into the country at the land border with Nicaragua on two consecutive days, in a symbolic move to demand he be allowed to return
21 Sept: Zelaya appears in the Brazilian embassy in Tegulcigalpa

The political crisis erupted after Mr Zelaya tried to hold a non-binding public consultation to ask people whether they supported moves to change the constitution.

His opponents said the move was unconstitutional and was aimed at removing the current one-term limit on serving as president, so paving the way for Mr Zelaya's possible re-election. He has denied this.

The curfew is estimated to be costing Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the region, $50m (£30m) a day.

Elections

The US, the European Union and the Organisation of American States have all urged dialogue to end the crisis.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva used his address at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday to call for Mr Zelaya to be reinstated.

"The international community demands that Mr Zelaya immediately return to the presidency of his country and must be alert to ensure the inviolability of Brazil's diplomatic mission in the capital of Honduras," he said.

The UN has suspended any assistance for elections scheduled for 29 November.

A statement said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did not not believe conditions were right for "credible elections".

Map of city


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