Ousted Honduras leader fails in bid to return
Reuters - Sun Jul 5, 2009 - By Patrick Markey and Mica Rosenberg
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya turned back from an attempted return home on Sunday after soldiers clashed with his supporters as he tried to land, fueling tensions over the coup that toppled him.
Zelaya's plane landed in neighboring Nicaragua, after he said initially his flight from Washington would divert to El Salvador.
"Faced with this situation, we have to go on with what we had planned, which is a meeting with the other presidents in the region," he told the Telesur news channel from the plane.
The coup has spiraled into Central America's worst political crisis in two decades, testing regional diplomacy and raising a challenge for the Obama administration.
A senior U.S. official described the situation in Honduras, an impoverished coffee and textile exporter, as "very fluid and challenging."
Honduras' interim government, which has resisted growing international pressure over the coup, refused Zelaya permission to enter the country and warned he would be arrested. Hundreds of troops fanned out around the runway to protect the airport.
Violence erupted after protesters broke through fencing at the edge of the airport. Troops fired tear gas and clashed with the rock-throwing crowd, Reuters witnesses said. (continues...)