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  • Demonstrators march against President Juan Orlando Hernandez government's plans to privatize healthcare and education, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras June 3, 2019.

    Demonstrators march against President Juan Orlando Hernandez government's plans to privatize healthcare and education, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras June 3, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 June 2019 (22 hours 31 minutes ago)

Protests against Hernandez, an ally of the United States, have been building in recent weeks over planned reforms that the president’s critics argue will lead to the privatization of public health and education services.

Mass protests have erupted across Honduras this evening as thousands of people demonstrate against the government of Juan Orlando Hernandez.

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Members of the Honduran riot police that have dealt with weeks of protests stood down in Tegucigalpa on Wednesday, allowing adversaries of President Hernandez to block streets and cause traffic chaos in the city.

Hernandez’s official residence was being guarded on Wednesday night by military police and soldiers armed with high-performance rifles while demonstrators marched through streets calling on the president to step down.

Members of the National Directorate of Special Forces (DNFE), who have been protesting since Tuesday night by remaining in their quarters, said if they did not receive better benefits, they would not carry out anti-riot operations.

The police strike is a fresh headache for the conservative leader, who has been under pressure since he changed electoral rules to allow him to run for a second term in 2017. Though he won the election, it was heavily criticized by international observers and opponents who say he stole the victory.

Hernandez has faced heavy criticism within Honduras over the last few years, as constant reports of corruption and election fraud have tainted his presidency.

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