Despite vowing to return by whatever means, Zelaya showed little appetite to force a confrontation with Honduran security forces.

Need for support

He told Al Jazeera on Saturday that he was trying to gather more popular support.

Al Jazeera’s Monica Villamizar, who accompanied Zelaya in his car at the frontier crossing said: "It basically seems that it has not been possible for Zelaya to go into Honduras.

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"He does not appear to have the necessarily support, the necessarily number of people to accompany him into Honduras to take back his presidency. It is in a way a failed attempt once more.

"It seems that he wants to get more time for enough people to come here and accompany him into Honduras.

"As we can see, he's trying to shield himself behind the population but not enough supporters are showing up.

"Apart from a caravan made up of around 30 cars and a few journalists, there isn't really a lot of people here supporting him and apart from the foreign minister of Venezuela there are no high-profile South American profiles here."

Authorities ordered a daytime curfew in the border region. Traffic was curtailed by multiple checkpoints but pedestrians were still out and about.

In the town of Danli, about 35km from the border, a small group of Zelaya supporters including Zelaya's wife were blocked from proceeding to the border.

Political crisis

Zelaya's attempts to return to Honduras come after crisis talks mediated by President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica between Zelaya and the interim government collapsed.

An attempt on July 5 by the deposed president to return to Honduras by air failed when the interim government instructed the military to block the runway at the airport in Tegucigalpa, the capital.

Zelaya was forced into exile by the military as he was about to press ahead with a non-binding referendum that critics said was aimed at changing the constitution to enable him to run again for office.

Zelaya had said that changes to the charter were necessary to improve the lives of the poor.

Micheletti's interim government insists Zelaya was acting illegally in trying to extend term limits and his removal was authorised by Honduran laws.