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Page last updated at 20:42 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 21:42 UK

US brands Zelaya return 'foolish'

Zelaya supporters protest in Tegucigalpa 28.9.09
Honduran forces are preventing Mr Zelaya's supporters from protesting

A top US diplomat says deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was "irresponsible and foolish" to return before a settlement had been reached.

Lewis Amselem, US ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), said Washington had asked Mr Zelaya not to return because of potential unrest.

He called on him to urge his supporters to keep their protests peaceful.

Earlier, Honduran troops raided two media outlets that had been critical of the interim government.

Radio Globo and Cholusat Sur TV were closed after authorities issued a state of emergency suspending key civil liberties for 45 days.

The measures were in response to a call by Mr Zelaya for his supporters to stage a protest exactly three months since he was deposed.

Mr Zelaya is holed up in the Brazilian embassy in the capital Tegucigalpa after his dramatic return last week.

'Wild allegations'

"The return of Zelaya [without] an agreement is irresponsible and foolish. He should cease and desist from making wild allegations and from acting as though he were starring in an old movie," said Mr Amselem at an emergency meeting of the OAS.

"Having chosen, with outside help, to return on his own terms, President Zelaya and those who have facilitated his return, bear particular responsibility for the actions of his supporters," he added.

Forces surround the Radio Globo radio station 28.9.09
Police and troops cordoned off the Radio Globo offices in Tegucigalpa

Mr Amselem also criticised the decision of the interim government to block an OAS mission and to declare a state of emergency.

He said the US would continue to urge both sides to reach agreement under the San Jose accord proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.

The proposal calls for Mr Zelaya to return to office and finish his term, which ends in January.

The interim government's decree - broadcast on national television - allows unauthorised public meetings to be banned and news media to be temporarily closed down.

Radio Globo journalist Carlos Lopez said soldiers had "confiscated everything", including cameras and the keys to vehicles when they raided the station early on Monday.

Hundreds of soldiers and riot police are surrounding the Brazilian embassy.

Despite the tight security and regular curfews, Mr Zelaya had urged his supporters to converge on Tegucigalpa on Monday in what he called a "final offensive".

Brazil warned

The interim government warned Brazil on Sunday that its diplomatic credentials would be revoked in 10 days if it did not grant Mr Zelaya asylum or hand him over.

Mr Zelaya was forced from office at gunpoint after announcing plans to hold a non-binding public consultation on whether people 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.

A presidential election is planned for November.



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