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Honduran Police, Student Protesters Clash Over Ouster of President Manuel Zelaya


Honduran police have fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse dozens of students who massed in the capital, Tegucigalpa, to protest the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

The clashes happened Wednesday as the students blocked roads around the National Autonomous University, then hurled rocks at the officers. The university's director, Julieta Castellanos, said she was beaten when she tried to calm the violence between the students and security forces.

As the clashes took place, foreign ministers from the Organization of American States met in Washington for talks on sending a high-ranking diplomatic mission to Honduras to resolve the political crisis.

The OAS's deputy secretary general, Albert Ramdin, tells VOA's Creole service the delegation will press the interim Honduran government to accept a proposal aimed at reinstating Mr. Zelaya. He was forced from power June 28 and flown to Costa Rica in a move widely condemned by the international community.

Ramdin says the OAS believes the proposal is a "realistic" way to solve the political stalemate and return constitutional democracy to Honduras.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias prepared the proposal. He has led a U.S.-backed mediation effort between the ousted and interim governments. The caretaker government of President Roberto Micheletti has refused any proposal that would allow Mr. Zelaya's return.

Interim leaders say Mr. Zelaya was ousted because he was trying to change the constitution illegally to extend his term in office. No government has formally recognized the Micheletti government.

The OAS's Ramdin said it is unacceptable that a president who has been democratically elected is taken by force and transported out of the country. The OAS suspended Honduras several weeks ago for failing to restore Mr. Zelaya.

This was the first time the OAS had suspended a member since Cuba was excluded from the group in 1962.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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