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Honduras tense as voters head to the polls

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Zelaya's supporters have called for a boycott of elections. Juan Barahona, a protest leader who has taken to the streets over the past five months, says he will stay indoors today. "We've told people to stay at home and not to vote," he says.

Ms. Guandique says she is heeding the call – both in protest of Zelaya's ouster and because she fears repression by military and police. "I won't vote because there's no security," she says.

Nor is there evidence, she adds, that her vote will make a difference. Guandique voted for Zelaya in the 2005 elections, but she says the leading candidates backed his ouster and only represent the interests of the rich. "The only crime Zelaya committed was helping the poor," she says.

Tight security in place

The Honduran military has emphasized that voters should not be worried about security, army spokesman Col. Ramiro Archaga said ahead of polls. "We have plans in places to deal with people who try to interrupt the elections," including 17,000 soldiers and 12,000 police officers called to duty nationwide. He said authorities will respect the rights of those in favor of Zelaya.

Many residents expect calm, too. Dominga Lopez, a house cleaner in the capital, attended the final rally of Mr. Lobo earlier in the week. She says she will vote for Lobo because he supports senior citizens' rights and hails from a different party than that of Zelaya, who she accuses of seeking dictatorial powers. "We'll elect a good government, one that represents everybody."

Pelix Lopez, a farm worker also at the Lobo rally, says he expects a big turnout for this year's race, pointing to thousands at the rally. "They came here because they're not afraid," Mr. Lopez says.

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