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Updated 07/09/2009

UPDATE (June 29): Civil unrest, international condemnation in wake of coup

Much of Tegucigalpa was still without power on Sunday evening as thousands of people protesting in support of ousted President Manuel Zelaya continued gather in the capital city of Honduras, building barracades and blocking roads leading to the presidential house.

This evening it was also reported that César Ham, congressional deputy and head of the leftist Democratic Unification party, was shot to death by a squad of soldiers as they attempted to arrest him this morning.

MISF sources in Honduras, who have asked not to be identified because of safety concerns, said that protesters are determined to stay on the streets all night, even though a nationwide curfew is in force, and have called a general strike for tomorrow.

Many protesters are not necessarily Zelaya supporters, MISF sources said, but are worried about the future of the country and the possibility that those behind the coup may have undone the political progress Honduras has made since its return to civilian rule some 25 years ago.

Earlier today, the Honduran Congress, claiming it had received a resignation letter from Zelaya on Friday, voted to accept the resignation, and swore in Congressional President Roberto Micheletti, whom the constitution designates as next in line to the presidency.

Speaking in a press conference from Costa Rica, Zelaya denied writing the letter and insisted that he was still president. "This kidnapping is an extortion of the Honduran democratic system," he said.

In a statement on Sunday morning, U.S. President Barack Obama called on "all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter."

Washington has made it clear that it recongizes only Zelaya as the legitimate president, and U.S. officials are reportedly trying to communicate with the Honduran Congress to insist that the new power structure step down.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a Zelaya ally, speaking on state television today, threatened military intervention.

Micheletti, for his part, appears to be asserting independence. "Neither Barak Obama nor Huga Chavez has the right to threaten our country," he said.

For updates on this evolving story, join us on Facebook or follow our Twitter feed. We will be posting a comprehensive follow-up as part of our monthly Honduras News in Review on July 7.

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