Activists from campaign group Sydney Says No 2 Honduran Coup gathered on September 15 to mark Honduran Independence Day, 14 months after elected president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and flown out of the country in a military coup on June 28, 2009.
Although in exile, Zelaya continues to campaign against the coup regime. Inside Honduras, the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) campaigns against the illegitimate government of Porfirio Lobo.
Below is an abridged version of a speech given by Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon at the Sydney action.
Best wishes from the people of Australia to the people of Honduras on their Day of Independence.
This day has added significance, because on this day there is an amazing petition to be presented: 1.25 million Honduran people have signed a petition, calling for [a constituent assembly] to ensure that the constitution is changed and to move the country forward so that democratic processes are respected and the terrible coup of 2009 is put to bed.
We need to be united and stand with the people of Honduras to ensure that the democratic processes are returned.
What we have seen since the coup is that people have been killed, particularly unionists.
We have seen so many neoliberal policies come into place: public assets sold off, public education privatised.
We have seen the backers of big hydroelectric dams who funded some of these [pro-coup] political parties now being given the go ahead.
Farmers have often been killed as they stand up to multinational companies.
There is so much that is wrong now, wrong because democracy has been discarded.
That’s why we stand here today with a clear message to the new Australian government that has been elected and the new foreign minister. Our message to [foreign minister Kevin] Rudd and Prime Minister Julia Gillard is: remember Honduras, remember the people there, people now fighting for democracy.
We urge the government to ensure that diplomatic pressure is put on the US and Honduras to respect the people’s petition and restore the democratic process. That is the priority.
The message the Greens will take into parliament is that we stand with the Honduran people to ensure that democracy is returned; that unions can operate fully and openly; that military operations are wound back; that the military budget is cut; and that the great assets of that country are there for the benefit of the people of that nation.
All the best to the Honduran people, thank you.
[The full speech and others can be found at http://www.sydney-says-no2honduras-coup.net/past-solidarity-actions.php .]