Honduran Military Ousts President
GUY RAZ, host:
Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
A military coup today in Honduras; Soldiers descended on the national palace, arrested President Manuel Zelaya and flew him to exile in neighboring Costa Rica. And by a show of hands, the Honduran Congress appointed the opposition leader, Roberto Micheletti, as the new president.
That military action came just as polls were opening on a referendum that would allow a change to the country's constitution. President Zelaya's critics say the referendum was an attempt to remove limits to his re-election.
Now the country's Supreme Court is supporting today's coup, calling it a defense of democracy, but the action was condemned by Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez; and in Washington, President Obama called it deeply disturbing.
President Zelaya told reporters in Costa Rica that today's action was illegal. Here he is describing the ordeal through an interpreter.
Mr. MANUEL ZELAYA (Former President, Honduras): (Through Translator) They invaded my house early this morning with bullets. They broke the doors with fixed bayonets. They pushed me with the bayonets. They threatened to shoot me. It really was a brutal kidnapping they carried out against me.
RAZ: Tanks and soldiers patrolled the streets in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, but no major violence has been reported. As for the referendum, it appears that vote won't take place.
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