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  • Military police shoot tear gas at university students in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 24, 2019.

    Military police shoot tear gas at university students in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 24, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 26 June 2019

Doctors and teachers hold that police repression is reaching levels similar to those observed in the 1980s.

Over 1,000 Honduran doctors and teachers marched Tuesday to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Office (OHCHR) headquarters in Tegucigalpa, where they asked the multilateral institution to help demilitarize the country and dismantle the "state terrorism" that President Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) has implemented.

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"We ask for demilitarizing the territory," Suyapa Figueroa, the Honduran Medical Association (CMH) president said, adding that "we cannot allow the current state terrorism."

During the march, Honduran citizens shouted "more medicine, less cocaine," a phrase which recalled the scandals that have engulfed high government officials with international drug trafficking.

The Platform for the Defense of Healthcare and Education (PDSE) delivered its petitions to OHCHR officials in an attempt to stop the police repression that has been escalating since last week.

"In this government, repression is reaching levels similar to those observed in the 1980s, when death squads murdered leaders selectively," said Luis Sosa, a professor who participated in the march.​​​​​​​

According to local media, students remain protesting at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) campuses in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula as well as at other public and private educational centers across the country.​​​​​​​

UNAH Journalism student Kevin Contreras denounced international media over failing to report on the mass arrest of high school students in Tuesday's protests when military police fired tear gas at the young student protesters

In the department of Cortes, military police Wednesday took over the Departmental Directorate of Education to prevent teachers from carrying out protest actions.​​​​​​​

For their part, the PDSE leaders exhorted the population to stay in the fight and thanked parents for their strong support for the teachers and doctors demonstrations.

"From CIVICUS Spanish we condemn and demand the end of the brutal repression exerted against the peaceful protests in Honduras by the security forces of Juan Orlando Hernandez. At the moment there are 3 people dead and 20 injured."

Social discontent began to unfold in the Central American country on April 26 when the National Congress passed the "Law for Restructuring and Transforming the Health and Education Sectors," a reform backed by the right-wing president which aims for the privatization of health and education facilities.

Doctors, teachers and students immediately began demonstrations demanding the resignation of the president. Last week, National some police forces broke rank and joined the civilian protests, which had not stopped for two months.

JOH then ordered that some 5,000 members of the Public Order Military Police (PMOP), which is a special weapons and tactics unit created to fight organized crime, be mobilized to the streets to crack down on demonstrators.

As a result of this, night protests left three dead and more than 20 injured in Tegucigalpa on June 20. A few hours later, the Honduran first lady Ana Garcia took off in the presidential plane towards the United States. 

On June 24, PMOP troops stormed the UNAH campus in Tegucigalpa and shot five students in an action which has been condemned by human rights defenders.

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