OAS suspends Honduras over coup
The Organization of American States suspended Honduras on Saturday for refusing to reinstate ousted president Manuel Zelaya, who hours earlier vowed to return to the capital.
The OAS, which met in Washington on Saturday, had threatened to suspend Honduras's membership unless Zelaya was reinstated despite the recent military coup.
On Friday, Honduras's Supreme Court rejected an ultimatum from the head of the OAS to restore Zelaya to power. Before Saturday's emergency session, the interim government said it had decided to pull out of the OAS.
Earlier, Zelaya vowed to return to Honduras on Sunday and asked his supporters to back him peacefully as he tries to retake office.
"We are going to show up at the Honduras International Airport in [the Honduran capital of] Tegucigalpa with several presidents and members of international communities, and on Sunday we will be in Tegucigalpa," Zelaya said in a taped statement posted on the websites of the Telesur and Cubadebate media outlets.
More than 10,000 Zelaya supporters gathered near the presidential palace and pledged they would be ready if he returned.
"I ask all farmers, residents, Indians, young people and all workers' groups, businessmen and friends ... to accompany me on my return to Honduras," said Zelaya. "Do not bring weapons. Practise what I have always preached, which is non-violence. Let them be the ones who use violence, weapons and repression.
"I hold the coup plotters responsible for the lives of each and every person," he added.
But Tegucigalpa Archbishop Oscar Andres Cardinal Rodriguez cautioned that Zelaya's return could "unleash a bloodbath" and urged him to stay away.
Zelaya was expelled from the Latin American country by the military last Sunday just hours before a rogue referendum on constitutional reform he had called, defying the courts and the country's national congress.
Opponents feared Zelaya would use the referendum to remain in power after his term ends on Jan. 27, 2010. The Honduran constitution limits presidents to a single four-year term.
The interim president, Roberto Micheletti, said he will not bow to international pressure to reinstate Zelaya, arguing he was legally removed on orders from the Supreme Court.
With files from The Associated Press