Latin America & Caribbean

Berta Caceres: Murdered Honduran activist buried

Friends and supporters carry the coffin of slain environmental rights activist Berta Caceres along a street during her funeral in the town of La Esperanza, outside Tegucigalpa Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Friends and supporters of Berta Caceres carry her coffin through the streets of the town of La Esperanza during her funeral

The funeral has taken place of the murdered Honduran indigenous activist, Berta Caceres.

An award-winning environmentalist, she was killed on Thursday by gunmen who broke into her house.

Her killing was internationally condemned, with Oscar-winner Leonardo de Caprio tweeting that Ms Caceres' work should be honoured.

She had led protests against a hydro-dam project and her son said she was killed for economic reasons.

Her family say she had been living with constant and serious threats for months from police, politicians and construction companies.

Thousands of people carried her coffin through her home town of La Esperanza, about 200km (124 miles) from the capital, Tegucigalpa.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Thousands of friends and supporters came to Berta Caceres' wake in her home town of La Esperanza

A mother of four who would have been 45 on Friday, Ms Caceres rose to prominence when she led the fight of the Lenca indigenous people against a hydroelectric dam project that could flood large area of native lands and cut off water supplies to hundreds.

Despite living with constant threats she won the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, considered the world's top award for grassroots environmental activism.

Berta Caceres' family has accused the authorities of trying to portray her death as a random murder instead of an assassination because of her activism against large mining and environmental companies.

The week before her murder she had denounced the murder of four indigenous leaders in the Lenca community.

"This is a political crime," said Berta's daughter, Olivia Zuniga Caceres. "We totally deny that this was a crime of passion."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ethnic groups and organisations marched in peaceful protest in the days after Berta Caceres' murder

Police say they have arrested a man and minor who they say belonged to an organisation founded by Ms Caceres and allege they are responsible for the murder.

Olivia Zuniga says the family have contacted international investigators to look into her mother's death.

"This will ensure that there is no more corruption, no more bribery, and will give us confidence."

She said the funeral was a celebration of Berta Caceres's life. "She lived and died fighting. We don't feel sad, we don't feel fear, we are going to demand justice until the end." she said.

More on this story