Above: Demonstrators protest against government reforms in Tegucigalpa on May 31. Photo by Orlando Sierra for AFP
A new day of protests took place in Honduras last Monday with the participation of the Platform in the Defense of Health and Public Education and the Convergence against Continuism. Marches, picket lines, informative assemblies, walks were carried out in several areas of the country.
This new round of protests is a continuation of struggle undertaken by the Honduran people to reject the Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) government, accused by courts in the United States of allegedly receiving money from drug trafficking to fund his election campaign. The main thrust of the protests is calling for the immediate resignation of JOH and that he should be brought to justice for corruption and impunity he has spread in the country.
Social leader Salvador Zuñiga said protests are stronger every day to demand the ending of what he called a narco-government.
“We are encouraged because our people are showing willingness to struggle. Today is another expression of struggle against the dictatorship of a drug trafficker. Today is a great day, a great civic demonstration on behalf of our people,” Zuñiga said.
Monday, citizens occupied a main highway that connects the cities of Puerto Cortes and San Pedro Sula in the Cortes district. The action was carried out in Baracoa town, about 25 kilometers away from the port of Puerto Cortes. However, a strong squad of police and military police officers, with the support of the Navy, showed up and repressed the picket lines.
“I come from Omoa and we came here to say, Juan Orlando Hernandez, Leave.” Other colleagues came from Santa Barbara, Lempira and Intibuca.” said a teacher coming from a municipality in Puerto Cortes.
Chairman of the Association of Secondary Education Teachers and member of the Platform, Leonel Escoto, told Radio Progreso that these actions are important “because doing them in particular areas has a significant impact to achieve the goal of ousting the narco-dictator.”
Protests and picket lines were also present in Tocoa municipality, Colon district, with the participation of organizations members of the Platform. These protestors too were forced out with police and military repression.
Similarly, the student community from the National Autonomous University of Honduras in Valle de Sula occupied several buildings of the educational institution to demand Hernandez’s resignation. After that, they demonstrated in a boulevard that leads to the university. They took the opportunity to demand regional authorities to guarantee more security in their university. Students have pleaded that they cannot go back to classes if other students are carrying firearms inside the university. Last week, a man took out his gun and aimed at students who were demonstrating.
Students at the Francisco Morazán National Pedagogical University in Tegucigalpa are also carrying out protests and occupations of facilities in support of actions announced by the Platform in the Defense of Health and Education. New joint demonstrations among several public and private universities were expected in the northern area of the country.
Protests were also expected in Arizona municipality, Atlantida district, on behalf of organizations and the general population who are demanding the resignation of the President, with a view to stopping the mining extraction industry that is damaging the environment in the district.
According to the Platform leader Leonel Escoto, actions will not stop. “Actions and protests are expected for Tuesday the same as regional actions. We look forward to carrying out a nationwide action during this week and hopefully at the port,” Escoto said.
Source: Radio Progreso, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau