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Honduras Reconsiders Civil Liberties Ban

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The interim Honduran government has pledged to reconsider a decree suspending civil liberties, amid an international outcry over the measure and an appeal by ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

De facto President Roberto Micheletti said the 45-day order will be reversed at what he called the "most opportune time" to guarantee peace so that all candidates and Hondurans can participate in the presidential election scheduled for November.

The decree issued Sunday bans unauthorized meetings and allows for arrests without warrants. The interim government also shut down two broadcast outlets (Radio Globo and TV Channel 36) it said were closely tied to Mr. Zelaya.

The deposed leader, who remains holed up in the Brazilian embassy in the capital of Tegucigalpa, appealed for help from the United Nations General Assembly Monday. He addressed the world body by phone, urging for help to restore law and freedoms in Honduras.

The political crisis, which began with Mr. Zelaya's June 28 removal, intensified when he slipped back into Honduras last week.

The interim government says it forced Mr. Zelaya out of the country because he was trying to illegally change the constitution in order to extend his time in power.

Many Zelaya supporters have protested the ouster and the new government. Hundreds of protesters ignored the ban on unauthorized meetings Monday and gathered in Tegucigalpa, where they engaged in a tense standoff with police. Many of them had their mouths taped shut to symbolize the suppression of their freedoms.

Meanwhile, the Organization of American States met at its Washington headquarters Monday to discuss the political crisis. During the talks, Lew Amselem, a member of the U.S. delegation to the regional body, called Mr. Zelaya's surprise return to the country "irresponsible."

The interim government said an OAS commission is welcome to visit Honduras on October 7. Some OAS officials were expelled Sunday after traveling to the country to organize talks about the political crisis.

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