Deposed President Manuel Zelaya made a dramatic return to Honduras' capital, taking shelter from arrest at Brazil's embassy and calling for negotiations with the leaders who forced him from the country at gunpoint.
The interim government initially ordered a 15-hour curfew, and then extended it to a 26-hour shutdown of the capital Tegucigalpa, but thousands of Zelaya supporters ignored the decree and remained outside the embassy, dancing and cheering.
Others in the capital rushed home, lining up at bus stands and frantically looking for taxis.
Electricity was cut off for hours at a time on the block housing the embassy and in areas of Tegucigalpa where news media offices are located -- something that happened the day of the coup that ousted the leftist leader.
Security Vice Minister Mario Perdomo said checkpoints were being set up on highways leading to the capital to keep out Mr Zelaya's supporters from other regions, to "stop those people coming to start trouble". Later, Defence Minister Lionel Sevilla said all flights to Tegucigalpa had been suspended indefinitely.
Without giving any specifics, Mr Zelaya said he crept into the country by travelling for 15 hours overland in a series of vehicles -- pulling off a homecoming that created a sharp new challenge for the interim government that had threatened repeatedly to throw him in jail if he returned. Chants of "Yes we could! Yes we could!" bellowed from the crowd outside the Brazilian Embassy.
Mr Zelaya said he was trying to establish contact with the interim government to start negotiations on a solution to the standoff that started when soldiers flew him out of the country on June 28. "As of now, we are beginning to seek dialogue," he said by telephone, though he gave few details.
Talks moderated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias have been stalled for weeks over the interim government's refusal to accept Mr Zelaya's reinstatement. He also summoned his countrymen to come to the capital for peaceful protests and urged the army to avoid attacking his supporters. "It is the moment of reconciliation," he said.
The government of interim President Roberto Micheletti, who took power after Mr Zelaya's ousting, said in a statement the army and police were ready to "guarantee the safety of people". The shifting orders reflected the surprise of Mr Zelaya's arrival, which caught the interim government off guard. Only minutes before he appeared publicly at the embassy, officials said reports of his return were a lie.