Honduras: Massive protests as Lobo takes power

February 5, 2010

On June 28 last year, US-trained military officers overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya. This sparked sustained mass resistance from the poor majority, angry that the rich had overthrown a president who had carried out pro-poor reforms and sought to begin a democratic process to change the pro-elite constitution.

The coup regime held fraudulent elections in November, which the majority of Hondurans boycotted. The "winner" was right-wing candidate Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, who was inaugurated on January 27. Lobo agreed that Zelaya, who had been holed-up in the Brazilian embassy since September, would be allowed to leave the country. The article below is reprinted from a January 27 Honduras Resists post.

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"President" Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo took power today as the international business press suggested the coup had finally triumphed over the resistance — or at the least the crisis is over.

Despite the ongoing human rights crisis of kidnapping, murder and intimidation, hundreds of thousands of Hondurans of all ages, classes, and regions took to the streets in rejection of the legitimacy of Lobo's presidency — and to prove that their demands for justice and a constituent assembly would not fade.

Organisers say it was the second largest demonstration since the coup d'etat. There were marches across the country. In the capital, protesters marched to the airport, where a sea of Honduran citizens danced, shouted slogans and showed tremendous spirit as they waited to watch their deposed president, Zelaya, board a plane for the Dominican Republic.

A stage was set-up on the field where 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo was murdered by the army on July 5. Oben Murillo had joined hundreds of thousands of Hondurans at the airport that day for the expected return of Zelaya after the president had been exiled to Costa Rica in the coup. However, the army refused to let Zelaya's plane land.

Musicians played resistance songs and the names of the martyrs of the resistance were read.

The energy in the streets was exhilarating, a fresh tidal wave of unified opposition that revealed the National Resistance Front Against the Coup (FNRG) has only just begun to fight.

The demonstrations met with little repression, despite the presence of droves of police and soldiers, armed and in riot gear. The transfer of power to Lobo was not completely spotless, as demonstrators were harassed coming into the city, taken off buses and manhandled by police.

Worse, soldiers and police in the northern province of Colon carried out the second raid this month on campesinos (peasants) who had carried out land takeovers that were being legalised by Zelaya.

Three campesinos were wounded by gunfire from police and paramilitaries, and one remains in critical condition.

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