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Security forces in Honduras urged to respect human rights as protests continue

With further demonstrations in support of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya expected all this week, Amnesty International has urged the security forces to "refrain from using excessive force against protesters and ensure the safety of those participating in the demonstrations." "We are concerned for the safety of protesters," said Kerrie Howard, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Americas programme. "Failure to allow demonstrators to express their opinions peacefully would only fuel an already fragile situation." Supporters of President Zelaya clashed with the military on Monday night. According to media reports, several protesters were injured and many were beaten by members of the security focres. A number of trade unions across Honduras have announced an indefinite strike commencing on Tuesday in support of the ousted President. President Zelaya has announced he will return to Honduras on Thursday. Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, has offered to accompany him. Political turmoil in the Central American country started after President Zelaya was detained by the military and forcibly exiled from the country on Sunday. Roberto Micheletti, Congress speaker, has been sworn in as "Interim President". "President Manuel Zelaya must be able to return to Honduras immediately, without conditions and safely," said Kerrie Howard.