Latin America & Caribbean

Protesters and riot police clash in Honduras

Demonstrators form the words "JOH Out" during a protest against Honduras" President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his government in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, January 27, 2019. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Demonstrators form the words "JOH (Juan Orlando Hernández) Out" in Tegucigalpa

Anti-government demonstrators in Honduras have clashed with riot police during protest marking the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Juan Orlando Hernández.

Thousands of people took the streets in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and across the country, demanding his resignation.

Mr Hernández, a conservative pro-US politician, won re-election in 2017 by a narrow margin.

The opposition has accused him of electoral fraud.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Roads were blocked in the capital and other cities

"There are people who have been gassed and beaten," said the opposition leader and former President, Manuel Zelaya.

"Like wasps, we have launched a wave of escalating protests that will end in a national strike until this dictatorship falls."

Mr Hernández, who is widely known by his initials, JOH, has repeatedly denied allegations of irregularities.

He defeated the popular television presenter, Salvador Nasralla, by 1.53 percentage points.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Opposition activists have vowed to escalate the protests

Mr Hernández stood for office after the Supreme Court controversially lifted a constitutional ban on re-election.

The opposition contested the electoral process and challenged his victory.

But the result was confirmed by the Honduran electoral court almost a month after the vote, following a partial recount.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Hernández is one of President Trump's closest allies in Latin America

During Sunday's protests Mr Hernández was at a Catholic youth meeting hosted by Pope Francis in Panama.

He met the Pope and asked him to include Honduras in his prayers.

Honduras is one of Latin America's poorest countries and has one of the world's highest murder rates.

Thousands, escaping poverty and gang-related violence, have joined the latest migrant caravans heading towards the United States southern border.

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