Curfew enforced in Honduras as election protests continue

Hundreds have been arrested after the tally from last Sunday’s presidential race stalled without a clear winner

Honduran military police  on the streets of Tegucigalpa, where a  10-day curfew has been imposed by the government to stop violent demonstrations triggered by claims of presidential election fraud. Photograph: AFP/Orlando Sierra

Honduran military police on the streets of Tegucigalpa, where a 10-day curfew has been imposed by the government to stop violent demonstrations triggered by claims of presidential election fraud. Photograph: AFP/Orlando Sierra

 

Honduran security forces fanned out on Saturday to enforce a curfew as sporadic demonstrations continued over a contested presidential election that triggered violent protests that have killed at least three people.

Hundreds have been arrested after the tally from last Sunday’s presidential race stalled without a clear winner. Opposition leaders accused the government of trying to steal the election

TV star Salvador Nasralla on Saturday accused his rival, president Juan Orlando Hernandez, of carrying out a “coup” by manipulating the vote count and declaring the curfew to stifle protests.

International concern has grown about the electoral crisis in the poor Central American country, which struggles with violent drug gangs and one of the world’s highest murder rates.

Recount

Lines formed at supermarkets and early Saturday as people stocked up on supplies, but upscale malls and many shops were shuttered while others closed early as groups of workers waited to catch buses and get home before the 6pm to 6am curfew took effect.

“I’m afraid I’m going to get arrested by the army and be stuck in jail overnight or hit a blockade in the streets,” said Daniel Solorzono (27), as he heaved eggs, bananas and sausage into his pick-up truck at a market and rushed off to his home.

Nasralla’s early 5 percentage point lead on Monday was later reversed, after a pause of more than a day in the count, in favour of Hernandez, leading to accusations of vote fraud and calls for protests. Disputed votes could swing the outcome.

Under the official count, Hernandez had 42.9 per cent of the vote while Nasralla has 41.4 percent, with 95 per cent of votes tallied.

Electoral authorities have proposed recounting about 6 per cent of the vote, but Nasralla’s party has demanded a wider recount, forcing a stand-off with the ruling party and election authorities.

– Reuters