Honduran Delegation Report: Tuesday, September 22

Our delegation in Honduras sent this report regarding yesterday’s events. Please take action by emailing President Obama and Sec. Clinton and demand they denounce the military violence and human rights violatons occuring in Honduras.

Early Tuesday morning police and military forces violently dispersed a peaceful gathering in front of the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, where thousands of Hondurans had gathered yesterday to celebrate the appearance of president Manuel Zelaya in the country.

  • Police held the detained at the Estadio Chochi Sosa.  There were two groups of detainees, one of 47 people from the Resistencia, most of whom had the marks of abuse, then some 60 picked up for violating curfew.   The curfew violators were released after about six hours.  Eight protesters were teenagers between 14-16 years old.  The police themselves seemed very young, and some were wearing ski-masks to cover their faces.  
  • One of the men detained outside the embassy was really badly beaten, with 10 stitches in his head, his arm was likely broken and both legs in a great deal of pain.  He could hardly walk.
  • At least eighteen people were treated at the public hospital for wounds inflicted by the police.  One had a broken arm and 10 welts on his back from police bats.  Hospital staff reported that because of the curfew, there was a serious shortage of necessary goods in the hospital, including medicine and food for staff and patients.  
  • One Honduran human rights defender reported that her office had heard that a busload of people were coming from outside Tegucigalpa.  They jumped out of the bus to run up the hill away from the police.  The police pursued them up the hills, and the people have not been heard from.
  • The curfew was extended to tomorrow morning at 7 AM.
  • Many neighborhoods throughout Tegucigalpa are out in the streets, groups of inhabitants cheerfully defying the curfew and showing their continued support for Zelaya, and some are being violently repressed by the police and military. In our neighborhood, we can hear protests in the background (8pm)
  • The curfew denies Hondurans the basic rights to food, work, mobility.  Today the streets were full of police and military blocking off roads and impounding vehicles.  
  • There is growing repudiation of the curfew and de facto government within Honduras, increased isolation of the de facto government, and growing international pressure to bring down the coup
  • The people that were picked up and rounded up from in front of the Embassy may be charged with sedition and terrorism.  They were peacefully gathered; these possible charges would signify an increasing criminalization of nonviolent social protest.
  • The de facto regime is relying on highly disproportionate aggression: the limited actions taken by the resistance—rock throwing, burning tires, jeering—in no way justify the use of tanks, tear gas and pepper gas, live ammunition, a countrywide curfew, impounding cars, or detaining and beating people.  There are several reports of deaths.  Much of these repressive actions taken by the police and military forces of the de facto regime were committed against completely nonviolent people.
  • The police entered private homes in the area around the Embassy to search for protestors who were in hiding and took them into detention; this included firing tear gas into private homes
  • The offices of COFADEH, a highly respected grassroots human rights organization, were tear gassed.  State security forces attempted to force their way into the building, and threw three tear gas canisters into the building full of people.
  • Human rights organizations are overwhelmed.  People who want to denounce abuses don’t know where to go.