Hondurans hold mass protests calling for new election

Presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla (L) and former President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras' Opposition Alliance led a rally to call for new elections after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal named Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez winner of the country's controversial November elections. Photo by Jose Valle/EPA

Jan. 7 (UPI) — Thousands of protesters marched in Honduras on Saturday to oppose what they called a “fraudulent” presidential election.

An estimated 80,000 supporters gathered in San Pedro Sula to call for former Opposition Alliance presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla to replace President Juan Orlando Hernandez in office.

“The people want Salvador Nasralla as the President of Honduras,” Nasralla told the crowd. “The people won’t stand for this dictatorship, we won’t stop until we’ve removed the corrupt from power.”

Protesters waved flags while marching toward the city’s Central Park, as demonstrators followed along in vehicles honking their horns.

Former President Manuel Zelaya, the director of the Opposition Alliance, led the march and once again called for a national strike from Jan. 20 to Jan. 27 in the lead up to Hernandez’s inauguration.

“We’re calling for a national strike blocking all the main public highways, seaports, airports, until the will of the people is respected,” he said.

Nasralla refuses to recognize the results of the Nov. 26 election, plagued with accusations of fraud and corruption.

He asserts that he won the polls and would be willing to repeat them.

Honduras’ Supreme Electoral Tribunal, or TSE, declared Hernandez the official winner of the election with 42.95 percent of the votes versus Nasralla’s 41.42 percent on Dec. 17.

The Opposition Alliance presented 12 “irregularities” that occurred during and after the polling process, but the TSE said the appeal didn’t establish grounds to nullify the election.

Narsalla has accused the TSE of “manipulating” polling numbers to benefit Hernandez. Election observers from the European Union have said the TSE and the National Party must “depoliticize.”


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