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Protests in Honduras against president heat up

Police try to put out tires set ablaze in a Honduras opposition demonstration on January 27, 2019
AFP
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Tegucigalpa (AFP)

Thousands of people took to the streets across Honduras on Sunday to protest against the president a year after his controversial inauguration.

Police used tear gas against protesters rallying against conservative President Juan Orlando Hernandez as marchers set tires on fire and blocked two key highways heading north and south of the capital.

"There are people who have been gassed and beaten" by police, ex-president Manuel Zelaya told UNE TV.

Demonstrators waved red and black flags and some wore red vests, as shows of support for Zelaya's Freedom and Refounding Party, known as Libre for short.

Some chanted "GET OUT J.O.H.," before setting bonfires out of police sight.

"People need a fair government, not a dictatorship," Zelaya told reporters on a bus with supporters in the Colonia San Miguel neighborhood of the capital Tegucigalpa.

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

Police hurled tear gas to break up demonstrators including Zelaya in another neighborhood, Colonia Kennedy.

Hernandez took office January 27, 2018 after being re-elected in a vote called fraud by the opposition alliance Zelaya leads.

Protesters took to the streets to demand that his candidate, popular television presenter Salvador Nasralla, be declared winner.

But the electoral tribunal declared Hernandez had won almost a month after the elections, amid violent protests also fueled by a constitutional ban on re-election.

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