Honduras Delegation- Tocoa, Colon - September 15, 2012- Independence Day
According to the local activists, the annual Honduran Independence Parade in Tocoa, in the Aguan Valley of Honduras always takes hours to make its way down the main street to the Central Park even though it is not a big town. This year was no exception. It took nearly 3 hours for the several hundred campesinos, teachers, and FNRP and LIBRE activists who entered the official parade with bright red flags and the banners of the FNRP, LIBRE, MUCA, COPA, COPEMH and more to get to the park and official podium. When they did though it was a big surprise for the officials and guests sitting at the decorated tables up on the stage because the resistance contingent quickly filled the park and leaders from the local FNRP and LIBRE moved to the stage and began giving speeches - turning the even into a resistance celebration. The stunned officials, including the mayor, listened as their policies, support for mining concessions, and the ongoing violence against campesinos were denounced from their own stage.
Last year the resistance's alternative independence day events were brutally attacked by the police leaving many people injured and detained at the police station. Because of that, after discussion with the Permanent Human Rights Observatory in Aguan, our delegation decided to stay in Tocoa to accompany the march. This year the resistance contingent was able to negotiate with the police and there were no serious incidents. at one point a truck decorated with publicity for a local candidate from the National Party (The current president's party) forced its way into the parade in the middle of the resistance contingent and youth ripped off one of the candidate's posters and stomped on it.
The march had participants of all ages, including a contingent of young campesinos on motorcycles. Placards had slogans decrying the dependence of Honduras, supporting the campesino's struggle for land, and calling on people to vote for the LIBRE presidential candidate, Xiomara Castro Zelaya, in next years presidential race.
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