TEGUCIGALPA -- Grassroots organizations in Honduras on Thursday blocked several highways within the framework of a general strike to demand the reinstatement of deposed President Mel Zelaya.
Union members, teachers and activists from the National Resistance Front are participating in the pressure tactics, said spokesmen for the movement.
The Tegucigalpa headquarters of the state-owned electric and telephone companies, ENEE and Hondutel, respectively, as well as the offices of the social security agency were occupied by union members.
Teachers, who returned to their classrooms for the first three days of this week, on Thursday resumed their strike supporting Zelaya's return, union chief Milton Bardales told reporters.
He said the teachers have yet to decide whether to continue their strike next week or return to their classes.
The head of the Traffic Police, Ambrosio Ordoņez, said that highway blockades had been noted in parts of the provinces of Cortes, Atlantida, Colon, Ocotepeque, Copan, Comayagua, Olancho and Yoro, spanning much of the country.
In addition, groups of demonstrators blocked the road connecting Tegucigalpa with the northern part of the country.
Ordoņez told the press that authorities were recommending that drivers "seek alternate routes," and he assured the public that the road takeovers were being staged by "small groups of people."
Despite the protests on several highways, "we have calm in the entire country; there have been no violent acts," he said.
He also noted that in Tegucigalpa traffic was circulating normally.
The social movement demanding the return of the ousted leader has been protesting since June 28, when the military expelled Zelaya from his post and from the country and Congress designated its then-speaker, Roberto Micheletti, to head the "interim" government.
Zelaya's followers expect him to return on Friday from neighboring Nicaragua, and they are planning to congregate in one area along the border to welcome him after the attempt of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to find a way out of the conflict foundered on the junta's unwillingness to accept the reinstatement of the elected president.
Zelaya's first attempt to return, on July 5, was thwarted when the Honduran military blocked the runway at Tegucigalpa's Toncontin International Airport and fired on tens of thousands of Zelaya supporters gathered there, killing at least one person.
The plan put forward by Costa Rica's Arias calls for Zelaya to return and serve out his term, which ends in January, and includes a political amnesty that would protect both the coup plotters and the ousted head of state, accused of various offenses by the junta.
Zelaya would head a national unity government and the presidential and congressional elections set for Nov. 29 would be moved up to October.
Under the Arias initiative, Zelaya would also have to abandon his hopes to hold a referendum on convening an assembly next year to rewrite the Honduran constitution.
The Honduran military - almost a law unto itself under the current constitution - dragged Zelaya from the presidential palace and put him on a plane to Costa Rica just hours before voters were supposed to cast ballots in a non-binding plebiscite on the idea of revising the national charter.