Honduran pro-Zelaya protester dies after shooting

A man shot during a protest in Honduras this week in support of ousted President Manuel Zelaya died of his injuries on Saturday, the second fatality in the aftermath of last month's coup.

Roger Vallejo, a teacher participating in a rally blocking a road leading out of the capital Tegucigalpa, died of a bullet wound to the head after two days in a hospital's intensive-care unit, two nurses at the hospital where he died said.

Soldiers and police in riot gear broke up Thursday's rally by hundreds of demonstrators calling for the return of Zelaya, ousted in a military coup last month.

A Reuters cameraman at the protest saw police using tear gas and bullets to disperse the protesters but the police involved said in a statement they did not fire the bullet that hit Vallejo.

Dozens of people were detained after the rally and at least one other person was injured with a minor bullet wound.

Zelaya, an ally of socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is in exile in Nicaragua after being captured by the army on June 28, accused of violating the constitution by pushing for presidential re-election to be allowed.

Both Zelaya supporters and backers of the coup and a de facto government headed by Roberto Micheletti have staged frequent protests since then. The pro-coup marches have not been confronted by security forces.

A young man was killed in early July when soldiers shot into a crowd awaiting Zelaya's return at the airport in Tegucigalpa after the army prevented his plane from landing.

[Source: Reuters, Tegucigalpa, 01Aug09]

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