Socialist Worker

Thousands resist the coup in Honduras

Issue No. 2159

Protest against the coup at the Honduras Embassy in London. Many of the demonstrators were cleaners in the Unite union (Pic:» Guy Smallman )

Protest against the coup at the Honduras Embassy in London. Many of the demonstrators were cleaners in the Unite union (Pic: » Guy Smallman)

Protests against the coup in Honduras have continued despite vicious state repression.

Honduran police fired bullets and teargas at an unarmed demonstration on Sunday, killing at least one person – a young man – and injuring many more.

The 1,500-strong group of protesters had gathered at the international airport in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.

They hoped to welcome back Manuel Zelaya – the president who was ousted in a coup and deported from the country last week.

But the military prevented his plane from landing at the airport and it was forced to fly on to El Salvador.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest since the coup.

The shootings of demonstrators at the weekend created a new wave of anger, which was met with yet more heavy repression.

“We came here to ask for freedom and look what they have done,” one protester said.

Roberto Micheletti, the former head of the country’s congress, has been installed an interim president.

He has made it clear that he will cling on to power despite calls from the Organisation of American States for him to stand aside.


One of Micheletti’s first moves was to institute a curfew in an attempt to dampen down the protests.

Eyewitnesses said that police and soldiers had maintained a heavy presence on the night following the shootings – enforcing the curfew with metal poles and batons.

Yet protesters have vowed to continue their campaign to get Zelayda reinstated. There has been talk of a general strike.

Zelaya comes from the country’s right wing Liberal Party but he has moved leftwards in recent years to become an ally of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

Zelaya was set to hold an unofficial referendum on the possibility of creating a new democratic constitution along Venezuelan lines.

The Honduran supreme court declared the referendum illegal and the army withheld the ballot boxes.

Zelaya then dismissed the head of the armed forces and led a march of several thousand on an air force base to retrieve the boxes. Military forces subsequently arrested him and expelled him from the country.

The coup has been strongly condemned by leaders across Latin America.

But as previous attempted coups against Chavez have shown, the key question is what happens with the movement from below and whether the protests can spread deeper into the working class.

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Tue 7 Jul 2009, 18:50 BST
Issue No. 2159
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