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Honduran referendum turns into coup

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Honduran referendum turns into coup

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There is confusion in Honduras with the news the president has been placed under house arrest by the army, and that soldiers have surrounded the presidential palace in the capital.

Other reports say leftist President Manuel Zelaya has been taken to a military air base, and that shots were fired during his capture. Last week Zelaya fired the armed forces chief for refusing to help him organise today’s unoffical referendum on allowing presidents to serve more than one term. The Supreme Court then warned Zelaya to re-instate him, which Zelaya said amounted to a coup against him. The country has been mostly peaceful since the end of military rule in the early 1980s, and its seven million people have recently tired of their leader, a friend of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, giving him only a 30 percent approval rating in one opinion poll. Supporters of the president released ballot boxes from army stores in a show of strength this week to ensure the vote could go ahead, but the Congress, run by Zelaya’s own party, the Supreme Court and the army have all jointly called on voters to stay away.