Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez, December 4, 2017 in Tegucigalpa
Thousands of residents on Tuesday challenged the state of emergency in Honduras to express their anger over the suspicions of fraud in the November 26 poll, which augurs for a re-election of right-wing president Juan Orlando Hernandez.
Despite the curfew applied from 8 pm to 5 am, many of them took to the streets on Monday night to erect barricades and knock in pots, in the capital Tegucigalpa and elsewhere in the country.
On the walls are multiplying hostile inscriptions to President Hernandez, such as „Out the dictator!“ or „Fraudeur“.
Officially and despite the counting of 99.98% of ballots, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) refuses to declare a winner, pending the probable appeal of the opposing camp.
According to his latest figures, 49-year-old Juan Orlando Hernandez won 42.98 percent of the polls, compared to 41.39 percent for his leftist opponent, TV host Salvador Nasralla, 64, unlike the initial results. who gave the latter in the lead with five points ahead.
The latter said Monday to AFP that he could „never accept“ these results „neither official nor final“ and demanded that the ballots be recounted about 5,100 minutes (30% of the total), that he considers falsified.
International observers seem to be side by side on his side. Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias, coordinator of the EU mission, called on the TSE to be cautious: „Please do not proclaim a winner, the process is not over“.
Chronology of the crisis following the November 26 general elections in Honduras
The Organization of American States (OAS) went even further: „The narrow margin of results, as well as the irregularities, errors and systemic problems surrounding this election, do not allow this mission to have any certainty about the results, „said former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga, OAS Chief of Mission.
In the streets of Honduras, the curfew – decreed for 10 days Friday after violent demonstrations and looting of businesses – has generated chaos and forced the villagers to queue in front of the stores to stock up before they close. According to the local newspaper El Heraldo, more than 1,300 people have already been arrested for not complying with it.
– Rebellion of the police –
Demonstration of members of the „Cobras“, riot police units, December 4, 2017 in Tegucigalpa
But the state of emergency does not prevent violence, in this poor country undermined by criminal gangs: Sunday evening in the department of Olancho (east), when two policemen approached two inhabitants circulating by car despite the prohibition they shot them, police said.
And at least one young woman was killed during opposition protests. The local media evokes a total of seven dead and twenty wounded.
On Monday night, hundreds of „Cobras“ riot police units came out of their barracks in northern Tegucigalpa to signal their refusal to apply a curfew and crackdown on protesters.
Hundreds of people in the neighborhood came running to applaud them, some with signs saying „I love the police“.
„The truth is that we do not want to fight against the people anymore,“ one of the policemen told AFP, his face covered with a balaclava.
At the time of the curfew, other police units arrived at the barracks of the „Cobras“ to provide support, forming a procession of motorcycles and patrol vehicles.
Locals cheer on members of „Cobras“ riot police units on December 4, 2017 in Tegucigalpa
„What we demand is that the peace settles, that this problem is solved and that there is no more death, no more blood“, added the policeman to the AFP, alluding to the post-election clashes.
Authorities said the police were actually protesting on pay issues.
Even before it was held, the ballot was disputed, because of the candidacy of the outgoing president. The constitution banned two consecutive terms, but Hernandez relied on a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court, accusing his critics of taking control of the institution.