[News] Anti-Coup Protests Reported Across Honduras

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 2 12:32:56 EDT 2009

Anti-Coup Protests Reported Across Honduras

Posted by 
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 
Moreover, the 
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 Rallies

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.

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