Honduras opposition blocks roads in post-election protest

Tegucigalpa (AFP) –


Supporters of Honduras's opposition blocked roads in towns and cities on Friday to demand their candidate Salvador Nasralla be declared the winner of a presidential election held nearly three weeks ago.

It was the latest protest to highlight the uncertainty and allegations of fraud that have clouded the outcome of the November 26 election.

Both Nasralla and incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez have claimed victory, but electoral authorities have not yet confirmed a winner.

Hernandez is credited with a slender winning margin, according to a full count released last week.

But the opposition believes the result -- which reversed an early and seemingly insurmountable lead by Nasralla -- was marred by fraud. Nasralla says the opposition has proof of ballot tampering.

In the capital Tegucigalpa, supporters of Nasralla's Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship threw rocks and burning tires across roads. They kept moving to avoid police mobilizations against them.

In the north of the capital, an army vehicle was set alight, and soldiers fired tear gas at protesters.

The opposition, which is being directed by leftist former president Manuel Zelaya, called for nationwide demonstrations to protest "fraud" in the elections.

Zelaya warned that the longer Hernandez refused to cede to Nasralla "the more gasoline will be thrown on the fire."

"We are not going to let this dictator who lost the elections sit in the presidential chair," one protester who did not identify himself said in reference to Hernandez.

Honduras's Supreme Electoral Tribunal has until December 26 to formally declare a victor in the election.

The opposition is demanding the poll be annulled and a new one held. It also contests Hernandez's right to be a candidate, refusing to recognize as valid a 2015 ruling that voided a constitutional ban on presidential re-election.