Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 5 Report: Massive Demonstration as Lobo Takes Power

De facto President Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo took power today as the international business press suggested that the coup had finally triumphed over the resistance or at the least the crisis is over. Meanwhile, despite the ongoing human rights crisis of kidnapping, murder and intimidation, hundreds of thousands of Hondurans of all ages, classes, and regions took to the streets to mark a clear rejection of the legitimacy of Lobo's presidency, and to prove that their demands for justice and a constituent assembly would not fade.

Organizers say it was the second largest demonstration since the coup d'etat. There were marches in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula and smaller marches in other places. The one in the capital led to the airport, where a sea of Honduran citizens danced, shouted slogans and showed tremendous spirits as they waited to watch their deposed elected president Manuel Zelaya board a plane for a brief departure to the Dominican Republic. A stage was set-up on the field where Is Isis Obed Murillo was murdered by the army on July 5th. Musicians played resistance songs, all sectors of the resistance gave speeches, and the names of the martyrs of the Resistance were read.

The energy in the streets was exhilirating, a fresh tidal wave of unified opposition that revealed the National Front of the Popular Resistance has only just begun to fight.

The demonstrations saw little repression despite the presence of droves of police and soldiers, armed and in riot gear. The transfer of power to Lobo was not completely spotless, as demonstrators were harassed coming into the city, taken off buses and manhandled by police. Worse, soldiers and police in the northern province of Colon carried out the second raid this month on campesinos organized with CNTC who had carried out land recuperations that were being legalized by Zelaya. Three campesinos were wounded by gunfire from police and paramilitaries, and one remains in critical condition.

This drives home the message that we heard all day from the Honduran people in resistance: "!Por que el futuro nos pertenence, el presente es de lucha!"

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