At least 1 protester killed in Honduras election unrest

Tegucigalpa – At least one opposition protester has died in shootings in Honduras after the country announced a curfew and suspended some constitutional rights in the face of unrest over a disputed election in which both candidates have claimed victory.

As the ballot count entered its sixth day on Saturday, the national police force said a 19-year-old woman was shot dead at a protest supporting opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla by gunmen who witnesses say were police. Police said another man was seriously wounded in the same shooting, but his whereabouts are unclear, and he is also believed to have died.

“We still do not know if the assailants were police officers or not, but the case is being thoroughly investigated,” a statement from the police said.

The protests were reminiscent of the 2009 coup that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya, whose Libre party is part of the coalition led by Nasralla that formed in a bid to unseat President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

Riot police

The country’s electoral court had finished counting nearly 95% of the vote boxes from the November 26 presidential election and said it would conduct a hand count of 1 031 other boxes that presented “inconsistencies”.

Hernandez held a lead of more than 46 000 votes over Nasralla before the last-stage count. It was not immediately clear how many votes could be at play in the uncounted boxes.

But mistrust mounted amid strange delays in the vote count and the sudden reversal of Nasralla’s early lead.

Rock-wielding protesters have increasingly taken to the streets against riot police armed with tear gas, batons and water cannons. National police spokesperson Jair Meza said 12 people had been injured in clashes between police and protesters.

The Coalition Against Impunity, a network of human rights organisations, said in a report that security forces had used lethal ammunition and that four other protesters are believed to have been killed during clashes. The report was not immediately confirmed by police.


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