Hundreds of Honduran police officers attacked with tear gas more than 1,000 people marching in parallel to Sunday’s parade organized by the government to commemorate the 198th anniversary of the Independence of Central America.
The protesters, summoned by the left-wing Freedom and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), coordinated by the ousted President Manuel Zelaya, marched on Morazán Boulevard toward the center of the capital when they were attacked by the police.
More than 1,000 people, according to press estimates, walked to the sound of the song “JOH es pa’fuera que vas” (referencing President Juan Orlando Hernández, “you’re out of here”) and with banners calling for the resignation of the “narco-dictator.”
Police responded with tear gas and water jets from a tank. Protesters counterattacked with stones, which further provoked a confrontation that left an undetermined number injured.
Minutes later, the protesters regrouped and continued toward the central park. Zelaya gave a speech to some 5,000 people with accusations against the government for alleged links to drug trafficking before the police attacked again.
Protesters broke up in the streets of the historic center, where policemen chased them in a battle of stones against tear gas.
Zelaya was leading demonstrations in parallel to the official Independence Day parade, which was held for the tenth consecutive year since the coup d’etat ousting Zelaya in June 2009.
At the beginning of the march, the former president told AFP that Honduras is involved in a crisis due to drought and is showing “signs of being a narco-state.”
Former deputy Antonio “Tony” Hernández, brother of the current head of state, is accused in a New York court as being a “large-scale drug dealer.”
President Hernández, who rejects ties with his brother’s alleged crimes, led Sunday’s celebration of independence alongside members of his government on a stage in the National Stadium.
On the Suyapa Boulevard and the Olympic track of the stadium marched students of 50 schools and cadets of the military academy, while some 20,000 people transported by government buses filled the stands.