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Page last updated at 20:08 GMT, Saturday, 4 July 2009 21:08 UK

Zelaya vows to return to Honduras

Supporters of President Zelaya march in Tegucigalpa, 4 July
President Zelaya's supporters are awaiting his return

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya has vowed to return to Honduras on Sunday, despite being threatened with arrest.

In a speech on the regional TV channel, Telesur, Mr Zelaya said he would arrive along with several other presidents.

Mr Zelaya, who was forced out by the military on Sunday, criticised the leaders of the interim government and described them as traitors.

The Organization of American States is holding an extraordinary session and is expected to vote to suspend Honduras.


Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya speaks during a press conference in Panama City on July 2, 2009.
Mr Zelaya has comprehensive international support

"I am organising my return to Honduras... This is the return of the president elected by the sovereign will of the people," he said, calling on his followers to join him "without arms" on his arrival in the capital Tegucigalpa.

Already, thousands of his supporters are heading for the capital's airport, the BBC's Stephen Gibbs reports from Tegucigalpa.

In the taped recording that was sent to Telesur, Mr Zelaya warned the new administration of interim leader Roberto Micheletti that the international community had turned against them.

"I address you, the coup leaders, traitors, 'Judases' who kissed me on the cheek only to afterwards give a great blow to our country and our democracy... Your actions will not go unnoticed because the international courts will have to try you for the genocide that you are carrying out in our country, in suppressing rights and repressing our people."

The Honduran interim government says it acted within the law and has the backing of the majority of the population.

Emergency session

Earlier, the leader of the Roman Catholic church in Honduras called on the ousted president not to return from exile, in order to avoid provoking what he called a "bloodbath".

Officers deploy in Tegucigalpa 4 July
Police are deployed on the streets of the capital

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez said nobody had been killed since Mr Zelaya lost power, and he appealed to him to check his actions, before it was too late.

The presidents of Ecuador and Argentina, Rafael Corea and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, have said they would accompany Mr Zelaya when he returns to Honduras on Sunday.

The Honduran government says that arrest warrants have been despatched to all frontiers.

The country is becoming increasingly polarised, our correspondent says.

Each day there are mass demonstrations, both in support and against the government.

Mr Zelaya, whose enemies accuse him of seeking to prolong his rule by altering the Honduran constitution, has garnered comprehensive international support.

The Organisation of American States is meeting in emergency session to debate whether to impose sanctions against Honduras.

The group is also likely to suspend Honduras, after the caretaker government refused to restore President Zelaya.

The interim rulers have renounced the OAS charter in an apparent pre-emptive move, but an OAS official said the renunciation was not valid, since the Honduras authorities were not a legitimate government.

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