Repression Wednesday: We’re All Watching
It appears all hell broke loose in Honduras today. Yesterday, most of the participants in the National Resistance March had made their way to either San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa. The mood of the marchers lined along Juan Pablo II boulevard in Tegucigalpa might have been festive had it not been for the fact that there was serious business to conduct the next day, today, Wednesday. Today the marchers headed for two important places in Tegucigalpa — the Pedagogical University and the Honduran Congress.
Early in the day, reports began coming in through Radio Globo (the anti-golpista radio station that just won’t go away) and twitter messages coming in from Frente Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado that the police and military were repressing marchers at the University with tear gas and rubber bullets and were chasing people into the buildings. It quickly escalated to live ammunition and reports of injuries.
There was a large group of marchers located in the central part of town and the police and military encircled them, put up wire fencing, and lobbed tear gas (perhaps pepper gas) canisters into the crowd. People began to run and the police and military promptly began shooting, much of it done with live ammunition.
For those demonstrating in front of the Congress, it was the provocation of the president, Mr. Nasser, that upped the ante well beyond what anyone thought possible. In a well-orchestrated show, Nasser verbally insulted the protesters as he walked by them. Naturally, this elicited a predictable response from the protesters. This was the signal for the police-military to “mop up.” By late afternoon, eye witnesses started calling Radio Globo and Frente Nacional was furiously tweeting. The mopping up consisted of mass detentions, tear gas (sometimes directly sprayed into eyes of detainees), shooting with rubber bullets, shooting with live rounds, and reports of torture in the basement of the Congress building.
And the helpful Deputies in the Congress must have gotten themselves “deputized” because they ended up assisting the police-military with interrogations and verbally terrorized the detainees.
Members of the press were in for the worst beatings and perhaps torture (although I’m not sure what kind).
The military has surrounded the hospitals and many injured people are too fearful to enter. (In Haiti, the death squads used to finish off their victims in their hospital beds — another story for another day.)
There were many reports of the death squad COBRA units circulating in both San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.
Calls began coming in to Radio Globo later in the day from San Pedro Sula and the police-military were mopping up there in a manner similar to what happened in Tegucigalpa. There are several people missing.
Late this evening, Frente Nacional reported that in San Pedro Sula there are hundreds of people who have been detained and dozens are injured. In Tegucigalpa, dozens of protesters are detained in improvised jails which is illegal.
Finally, Juan Barahona made an announcement on Radio Globo late this afternoon that the National Resistance will re-group again tomorrow morning at 8am at the Pedagogical University. He stressed several times that the protests must be peaceful.
I’m not sure what kind of a Thursday comes after a Repression Wednesday, but we will all be watching in the best show of solidarity that we can.
Stay tuned . . .