TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, July 5 (UPI) -- Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya's plane circled the airport in Tegucigalpa Sunday, but could not land as soldiers and riot police blocked the runway.
"The runway is blocked," Zelaya said in an interview from his plane that was broadcast over loudspeakers to his supporters on the ground, The New York Times reported Sunday. "There is no way I can land."
As the plane passed over the airport twice, throngs who had awaited Zelaya's return cheered while soldiers and riot police used tear gas and bullets to disperse his supporters, the Time said.
The plane, which Zelaya had boarded in Washington, then headed to Nicaragua but Zelaya said he would attempt another landing soon. Zelaya had said Saturday he would return to Honduras Sunday, even as the man who replaced him after the coup threatened to arrest him.
Zelaya's post-coup successor, Roberto Micheletti, said he would have Zelaya arrested if he arrives in the country. If he goes ahead with his pledge to return, Zelaya would be ignoring a warning from one of Honduras' most prominent religious leaders, who urged him to stay out of the country and accept his ouster.
Oscar Andres Rodriguez, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Tegucigalpa, made a statement on local television, addressing viewers in front of a Honduran flag and a painting of Jesus Christ, The Miami Herald reported.
"On the day of your inauguration, you cited three commandments of the rules of God -- not to lie, not to steal, not to kill," Rodriguez said. "If you respect life, if you love life ... please meditate because if not, it could be too late."
Zelaya was awakened from sleep last weekend and forced to leave the country in his pajamas. Leaders of the military coup and their supporters say he was conspiring to change the constitution to allow him to remain as president indefinitely.