Protester shot dead in Honduras clashes

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The Independent US

A man was shot dead in a clash between police and supporters of the ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, as international pressure mounted on the de facto government to allow the leftist back in power.

It was the first reported death in political violence since Mr Zelaya, who was forced into exile by a coup on 28 June, slipped back into Honduras this week and sought refuge in the Brazilian embassy.

The man, a Zelaya supporter aged 65, was killed in the poor Flor del Campo district of the capital on Tuesday night, a source at the coroner's office said. Five other pro-Zelaya protesters were shot and wounded in another part of the city, a doctor at the Escuela hospital said.

Hundreds of soldiers and riot police, some in ski masks and toting automatic weapons, have surrounded the Brazilian embassy where Mr Zelaya is sheltering with his family and a group of about 40 supporters.

Brazil and Venezuela called at the United Nations for Mr Zelaya, a former rancher who took office in 2006, to be returned to power.

Troops and police, some firing tear gas, cleared away pro-Zelaya demonstrators from around the embassy on Tuesday and security forces' helicopters flew over the building throughout the night. Witnesses said soldiers blasted loud noise from speakers toward the embassy to try to keep Mr Zelaya and his backers inside awake.

Large lines formed at stores in the capital as residents stocked up on water and basic foods. State-run television broadcast frequent messages from the de facto government warning that Mr Zelaya would be responsible for any violent acts. Electricity and water was briefly cut to the embassy on Tuesday but food was sent in.