Honduran police go on strike, refuse to support coup
Policemen listen to instructions from an officer before a patrol to enforce a government imposed dawn-to-dusk curfew in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Dec. 2. Rank-and-file officers have now gone on strike and refuse to act against the people. | Rodrigo Abd / AP

Honduran police went on strike yesterday, refusing to suppress protests against ballot-rigging in last week’s election. Opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla, who insists the election was stolen from him, urged the army to follow suit.

The national police, including the feared Cobra commandos, announced the strike on Monday in the capital, Tegucigalpa.

Hours earlier, electoral tribunal chief David Matamoros announced that incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández had effectively won the November 26 election, reversing an early five-point lead for Nasralla in a vote count delayed by a week.

In a statement read out by a spokesman on the UNE TV network, the force said, “We can not become violators of human rights.

“If we do, sooner or later we will pay the debt,” the spokesman said. “We are already paying for the violations committed by our superiors in the past”—a possible reference to the 2009 U.S.-supported coup against president Manuel Zelaya, Nasralla’s ally.

The eight-point declaration said, “Our people are sovereign and we have a duty to them, therefore we cannot confront them and suppress their rights.”

It urged “intermediate officers to take control of our institution due to the ineffectiveness of our superiors who have done little or nothing to solve this problem of the state.”

Added to their grievances was Security Minister Julian Pachecho’s announced pay rise for office-based auxiliaries but not officers on the beat.

Nasralla, who has led mass protests against the alleged electoral fraud, welcomed the strike. “I call on the troops to follow the example of the police,” he said.

The Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship candidate alleged that Hernández had “paid certain unscrupulous soldiers” to neglect their duty to “maintain peace, the rule of the constitution, the principles of a free vote” and the transfer of power.

Hernández has previously been accused of taking money from drug barons to fund his election campaign.

Nasralla said he was ready for dialogue but warned that the people’s demands for democracy must be met.

“I want to end the crisis, but I represent a people who find themselves oppressed, who want justice to be done,” he said.

“This process is not over. Juan Orlando Hernández is not the president.”

Morning Star


James Tweedie
James Tweedie

James Tweedie is the International Editor of the Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain.