Mobilisations continue

For Hondurans, the nightmare continues. Yesterday, social movements continued to be violently repressed by regional police forces and the army as they awaited the arrival of president Zelaya

Tegucigalpa, 5th of July 2009.  Peaceful protests began in front of Francisco Morazán University around 11:30 AM. Many people attended the march and as they walked down Boulevard de las Fuerzas Armadas towards the airport, more and more people joined. Altogether we estimate that 5000 or more people joined this protest which lasted several hours in front of Toncontín International Airport.

The ecstatic demonstrators had high hopes of finally seeing President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales who was expected to arrive at 4 p.m.  They shouted slogans until they reached the airport where they remained for several hours. However, a few minutes before the head of state was to arrive, disturbances began.  The police and the army were visibly afraid; it appears that they had never seen as many people gathered in one place, ready to defend democracy and the constitutional order. As soon as they saw that protesters got close to the wall surrounding the airport they began to attack.  At first, only rubber bullets were used, but then regular bullets were also fired. Finally, tear gas bombs were used to intimidate the multitude gathered there.

We regret that our army and police forces show such a violent attitude against their own fellow Hondurans, given that the majority of soldiers in our country are among the poorest.  However, when they receive orders they turn against their own people and are ready to kill, as was the case at the airport yesterday.

Chaos broke out and sadly, we have preliminary news that two innocent people died. The first is eight year old Darwin Antonio Lagos as well as 18 year-old Isis Obed murillo, both are from state of Olancho. We also know that ca. 10 people were wounded. Nevertheless, more investigations are necessary since we do not know where the body of the young boy is. We only have the testimony of a person who picked up his lifeless body and put it in a vehicle so that it would be taken to hospital.  Although we do not know the whereabouts of the boy’s body, human rights defenders in our country are carrying out investigations, visiting the hospitals of the capital as well as the mortuaries in order to confirm whether the boy has in fact died.

As representative to the press I feel it is my duty to mention that the father of Isis Obed Murillo—whose head was shattered by an M-16 bullet from snipers who were strategically positioned to around the demonstrators— is a compañero who supports the Committee of Disappeared Families of Honduras (COFADEH). His name is David Murillo, from the state of Olancho. The young man who was assassinated yesterday took part in one of the COFADEH projects. David Murillo and his 11 children had traveled from their community to Tegucigalpa in order to support the protests that have been taking place every day in our capital and other important cities in the country.  They had participated with the conviction that the struggle for justice and true democracy will be achieved by social movements. Mr. Mourillo told the media that despite the grief caused by the death of his son and he will not back down and will fight to the end.

Given the violent acts that took place as we awaited the arrival of José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, many of the protesters fled in fear back towards their homes. However, a great number of protesters remained and were able to see the airplane that carried the Honduran head of state as it circled above and attempted to land. This was impossible because the Army stationed various trucks on the landing platform in order to keep the airplane from landing. Instead, the Honduran Air Force used their own planes and threatened to intercept the airplane that carried the president if they persisted. This situation led the pilot of the plane and the president, coming from Venezuela, to decide to fly on towards a third country.  Half an hour later they landed in Managua, Nicaragua, where they were received by Nicaraguan head of state, Daniel Ortega and his wife, as well as various government representatives. Manuel Zelaya Rosales conferred with them for some time and then traveled to El Salvador, where he was awaited by at the heads of state of Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and El Salvador, in order to meet the general secretary of the OAS and to take decisions as to how to proceed in light of the conflict in Honduras.

Today it was announced that a commission left Honduras towards Washington. The above-mentioned presidents also traveled from El SalvadorUnited States in order to try to find a solution to the serious conflict affecting our country.

Despite the repression and violence currently suffered by social and popular movements, and in general by the people of Honduras, movement leaders insist that they will not back down and that their struggle to achieve constitutional order and Honduras will continue.  At this moment various social movements have been gathering in front of the Francisco Morazán University since the very early hours of morning in order to keep up the protests.

Morazán Commands: freedom to our homeland or death

 By * Mabel Marquez (Press representative to Vía Campesina, Honduras)