Saturday, March 19, 2011

Educator killed - Repression against Teachers

La Voz de los de Abajo dennounces the murder of Ilese Velasquez and the ongoing brutality against the trade unions, campesinos, and people of Honduras. We hold the regime of Porfirio Lobo responsible for the death of Ilese and for the repression and impunity that reign. We also hold U.S. policy in Honduras responsible for the violence against the Honduran people and condemn the U.S. government's political and economic support for coup d' 'etat and the continuation of the coup under Porfirio Lobo.

Below is a brief report on Thursday and Friday's repression summarized from different news sources including Resistencia - Red de Informacion Morazanica

On Friday, March 18th Ilse Velasquez, a teacher’s union activist and a member of COFADEH since her brother Manuel Velazquez was disappeared, was killed during a ferocious repression against a protest by educators in Tegucigalpa. The 59 year old teacher lost consciousness on the street after a tear gas canister fired by the riot police struck her forehead. The cloud of toxic smoke that surrounded her severely affected the respiratory system. Moments after, Mrs. Velasquez was hit by a car that caused severe internal injuries. Although Ilse was assisted by other teachers and demonstrators that took her to a nearby hospital, she died after being cared for in an emergency room. The existing video captured by security cameras shows the driver of the car that struck the educator losing control due to tear gas exposure.

On Thursday, army and police forces fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at demonstrators in several cities and detained around fifty people. In Tegucigalpa, anti-riot police, supported by Army troops, used brutal force to disperse thousands of demonstrators gathered in Miraflores boulevard, the Committee of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared denounced. Security forces also dispersed demonstrations in El Paraiso and Comayagua. President of the Federation of Teaching Organizations in Honduras, Joel Almendarez, revealed that at least 10 of his comrades were beaten and needed to be taken to hospital.

The demonstrators protested against a bill, presented before the National Congress, envisaging passing over State education responsibility to the councils, thus leading to privatization of education to the detriment of poorest sectors, according to teaching leaders.

The protestors also demanded payment of delayed salaries to thousands of teachers and paying off the Executive's debt to the National Institute of Teachers' Welfare.

Demonstrations this week also involved transportation workers, who protested a rise in fuel prices, and other sectors that oppose a rise in family food basket prices.

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