Thousands protest against Honduras president

Opposition parties and civil society groups hold a demonstration in front of the Public Ministry in Tegucigalpa on April 5, 2019, to demand the resignation of Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez. – Opposition activists accuse President Hernandez of rigging the disputed vote in which he was re-elected in the last presidential election. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP)

Thousands of people marched through the streets of the Honduran capital Friday night demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez and an investigation of him and his family.

The protestors, from the so-called Movimiento Indignados (Indignant Movement) and numbering around 5,000 according to reporters, shouted “get out J.O.H.,” as they marched to the public prosecutor’s office.

“We demand the immediate removal of Juan Orlando Hernandez from the post he is currently usurping, as well as an urgent investigation of him and his family circle and political associates,” the movement said in a statement.

It alleged Hernandez has links to people accused of corruption and drug trafficking, including his brother Antonio Hernandez, a former lawmaker who was arrested in Miami, Florida, on November 23 and is accused of “large-scale drug trafficking.”

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President Hernandez has said he was shocked by his brother’s arrest but that nobody was above the law.

The opposition says Hernandez, a conservative backed by the United States, was illegitimately re-elected in a November 2017 vote marred by delays and alleged fraud.

The “indignados” have made a return to the streets after their 2015 demonstrations against Hernandez, who was accused of illegally using government money for the 2013 presidential election that he won.

Hernandez admitted his conservative ruling National Party had accepted $94,000 that had been misappropriated from social security funds but said the funds had been used without his knowledge.

The opposition however charged that more than $300 million was skimmed from the poverty-stricken country’s public health system.

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Honduras is plagued by endemic corruption and gangs that control drug trafficking and organized crime.

This phenomenon has caused a wave of illegal immigration to the United States, notably by minors who fear being forced into gang enrollment.

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