[News] Anti-Coup Protests Reported Across Honduras
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 2 12:32:56 EDT 2009
Anti-Coup Protests Reported Across Honduras
Bricker - July 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm
Despite Repression and the Suspension of
Constitutional Guarantees, Hondurans Keep Fighting the Coup Government
The anti-coup movement's momentum appears to be
building across Honduras, with protests reported
across the country. Meanwhile, international
pressure builds against the coup government.
Over the past two days, anti-coup protests were
reported in Tocoa, Colon; San Pedro Sula; La
Progreso, Yoro; Tegucigapla; Intibuca; El
Paraiso; Olancho; Santa Barbara; and all over
President Zelaya's native department of
reports that citizens have blocked major highways
in Copan and Tocoa. The BBC's sources on the
ground in Honduras say anti-coup protests have
occurred in the majority of Honduras' departments.
A leader of the teachers union, Freddy Vega, told
that teachers are on strike and classes will not
resume until ousted President Manuel Zelaya is back in Honduras.
Via Campesina reports that yesterday morning,
social leaders from across the country met to discuss strategy.
Teachers union leaders report that citizens in
Cortés, Choluteca, Comayagua, Santa Bárbara, and
Copán are preparing mobilizations and marches to
Tegucigalpa to receive President Zelaya when he
returns. Zelaya had originally stated that he
would return on Thursday. However, as a result
of the Organization of American States' (OAS)
decision to give the coup government 72 hours to
turn power over to Zelaya, the ousted president
has decided to
his return until after the OAS' 72-hour deadline has passed on Saturday.
The delay will give Zelaya supporters more time
to reach Tegucigalpa. The
reports that several Honduran social leaders have
told that news agency that soldiers have blocked
highways, preventing thousands of people from arriving in Tegucigalpa.
Antonio Zepeda, President of the Central American
Union Movement, says that when a caravan carrying
peasants and union members towards Tegucigalpa
reached a roadblock near San Pedro Sula, the
105th Infantry used machine guns to shoot out the
tires on their busses. Undeterred, the unionists
and peasants continued to Tegucigalpa on
foot. They arrived in the capital today, where
they await President Zelaya's arrival this weekend.
Pro-coup forces also mobilized yesterday, drawing
thousands of protesters to a rally in
Tegucigalpa. Coup president Roberto Micheletti
and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Romeo
Vasquez, spoke during the rally, which was
organized by the Democratic Civic Union
(UDC). The UDC organized a similar, smaller
protest in San Pedro Sula, Honduras'
second-largest city. A UDC protest occurred today in Choluteca.
While it is impossible to get accurate crowd
estimates on any of the protests, the UDC's
Tegucigalpa rally appeared to be larger than any
of the anti-coup protests that occurred
yesterday. But appearances can be deceiving.
Rumors are circulating that bosses forced their
workers to participate in the pro-coup
mobilizations. The Popular Resistance Front of
Honduras (which, like the UCD, is an ad-hoc
organization formed in response to the current
crisis), issued a communiqué claiming that "fast
food, factory, and private security company
employees have been forced to participate in the [UCD] event."
Andrés Pavón of the Honduran Committee for the
Defense of Human Rights,
that claim: "They took all of the fast food
workers in Honduras and private security guards
and they dressed them in white. In Honduras
there's 30,000 private security guards and they
dressed six thousand guards [in white]."
Alegría, leader of Via Campesina in Honduras,
says that factory workers in San Pedro Sula were
forced to participate in the march in that city.
It's important to point out that these claims have not been confirmed.
Even if the rumors and claims that workers were
forced to participate in the pro-coup rallies
aren't true, one fact is undeniable: the UDC's
protests enjoy the full support of the coup
government. As such, the government has made no
attempt to repress the marches.
That is not the case for the anti-coup
protests. At an
protest in Tegucigalpa yesterday, an unidentified
speaker told the crowd, "Our protests would be
bigger, but you are all aware of the repression
that we are experiencing." Police have used tear
gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, billy clubs,
ammunition, and water cannons against anti-coup protesters.
The following video from inside a Tegucigalpa
hospital shows some of the injuries inflicted by
police and soldiers. Even if you don't speak
Spanish, you should be able to understand the
injured people. At one point, the police shoot tear gas at the hospital.
522 Valencia Street
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