200 gather to cheer Honduras' ousted president

AP News
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Posted: Dec 31, 2009 11:08 PM

About 200 people gathered outside the Brazilian Embassy to show support for ousted President Manuel Zelaya inside while they celebrated New Year's Eve with food and music.

Supporters of the deposed leader, who has been in the embassy since late September, began arriving at dusk Thursday and were allowed on one of the streets next to the compound, which is blockaded by Honduran troops.

"I am here for celebrating and being near President Zelaya," Aida Rhodes, 50, said as people danced and a group of women distributed meals.

Zelaya, who was ousted in a June 28 coup and sent into exile, sneaked back into the country and took refuge in the embassy as he mounted a failed effort to prevent an election to choose his successor.

The ballot had already been scheduled before Zelaya was forced out of office after he ignored Supreme Court orders to drop plans for a referendum on changing the constitution.

President-elect Porfirio Lobo is to take office Jan. 27, the final day of Zelaya's term.

In an interview with Radio Globo, Zelaya sent good wishes for 2010 to his supporters and to the civil servants in his government. He added that said he was not giving up his struggle against those who ousted him.

"My fight is for the transformation of Honduras; it does not end on the 27th of January," he said.