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UN Chief Appeals for Zelaya's Safety


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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling for the safety of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who remains holed up at the Brazilian embassy in the Central American nation.

Mr. Ban said Tuesday that he is "deeply concerned" about the developments in Honduras. He said a state of emergency has increased tensions, and called threats to the Brazilian embassy where Mr. Zelaya is sheltered "unacceptable" and "intolerable."

The interim Honduran government had given Brazil 10 days to get rid of Mr. Zelaya, but has since pledged nothing will happen to the diplomatic mission.

The government issued a decree Sunday restricting free speech and the right to assemble and shut down two broadcast outlets it said were closely tied to Mr. Zelaya.

De facto President Roberto Micheletti has promised to reconsider reversing the suspension of civil liberties.

The U.N. chief urged that the freedoms be fully respected.

Mr. Micheletti also said an Organization of American States (OAS) commission would be welcome to visit Honduras on October 7. Some OAS officials were expelled Sunday after traveling to the country to organize talks on the political crisis.

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

Mr. Zelaya appealed for help from the United Nations General Assembly Monday. He addressed the world body by phone, asking for help to restore law and freedoms in Honduras.

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 suppression of freedoms.