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Issue #1473      22 September 2010

Solidarity with Hondurans

On Wednesday September 15, the Sydney Coalition for Honduras organised public statements by the Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon and Theo Bougatsas of the NSW Teachers’ Federation, outside the Brazilian Consulate in Market Street, in support of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) in Honduras. On the same day democracy marches were held in Honduras to support a massive 1.26 million petition for the convocation of a National Constituent Assembly to democratise the constitution and demand the return of the exiled President Manuel Zelaya and over 200 other political exiles.

September 15, the day chosen for the actions, is Independence Day in Honduras. The major democracy marches were held in the cities by the FNRP, but repression against marchers was especially serious in San Pedro Sula.

Hundreds of teargas bombs were fired in San Pedro Sula. A 66-year-old lottery ticket street vendor, Efrain Lopez, suffocated and died. Dozens suffered fractured limbs and wounds from security forces’ beatings and severe gas intoxication. Thirty-seven marchers were illegally detained. Musical group Café Guancasco, who performed at the Resistance rally, were physically assaulted and their equipment confiscated by police. Radio Uno also suffered a police attack including teargas fired into the station, and a sociologist leaving the building was badly beaten.

“We urge the government to ensure that diplomatic pressure is put on the United States and Honduras to respect the people’s petition of over 1.25 million signatures and get that democratic process restored,” said Lee Rhiannon. “That is the message the Greens will take into the parliament of this country. We stand with the Honduran people to ensure that democracy is returned, the trade unions of that country can operate fully and openly, the military operations are wound back, the military budget is cut, and ensure that the great assets of that country are there for the benefit of the people of that nation,” she declared.

Theo Bougatsas said: “Students, especially those in Honduras … want to fulfil their dreams. There’s no dreams in Honduras, it’s currently a nightmare. We need to see change in Honduras. When we ask ourselves – can we see a better future for Honduras? We must say ‘yes we can’ and ‘yes we should’.”

Santiago Reyes, on behalf of FNRP, said: “It is important for the people of the world to know what is happening in Honduras, and to stand up against what is happening.”

The June 2009 coup in Honduras overthrew an elected government with the support of the United States, a throw-back to the horrors of US-sponsored military dictatorships in Latin America.

This solidarity event was held in front of the Brazilian Consulate in Sydney, because the Brazilian government has resolutely opposed the coup and opposed the return of undemocratic Honduras into the Organisation of American States.  

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