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Honduran riots caught on camera

23 February 2018

Sean Hawkey

Protesters in Olancho hold the Honduran flag amid smoke from a burning roadblock

Protesters in Olancho hold the Honduran flag amid smoke from a burning roadblock

THE photographer Seán Hawkey, who lived and worked in Honduras throughout the 1990s, has documented the nationwide protests that took place in the country in the wake of the disputed November presidential election.

In December and January, military forces were deployed on the streets to contain protests against electoral fraud and the inauguration of Juan Orlando Hernández. At least 22 people were killed. The Organisation of American States, which monitored the election, reported systemic irregularities and called for fresh elections.

A Jesuit priest, Fr Ismael Moreno, known as Padre Melo, who runs the independent Radio Progreso and campaigns for human rights, has received repeated death threats. He told Mr Hawkey that “the state of law is subject to the arbitrary decisions of a small group, led by Juan Orlando Hernandez, who have control over the three powers of state,” and that the media were “extremely conditioned by the owners, who are part of these economic groups and who have more power than any government”.

The United States, he suggested, was “wary of political instability: they prefer alliances with the old politicians, even if they are tainted with corruption, and are responsible for human-rights abuses”.

Mr Hawkey also met members of an ecumenical delegation that came to Honduras to witness the human-rights situation. “We are here to say we don’t want this bloodshed financed with our tax dollars,” the Revd Daniel Buford, a member of Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action, told him. “Our tax should be used to affirm peace and justice, not to affirm fraudulent elections and the oppression of people.”

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