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  • Indigenous activists and human rights defenders march in support of hunger strikers in Tegucigalpa on July 23.

    Indigenous activists and human rights defenders march in support of hunger strikers in Tegucigalpa on July 23. | Photo: EFE

Published 24 July 2015

The march in support of hunger strikers comes the same day as the journalist who outed major government fraud faced trial for dozens of charges.

Honduran human rights defenders and indigenous activists marched in solidarity in the country’s capital Tegucigalpa on Thursday, with protesters hunger striking to demand the establishment of an independent U.N. anti-impunity body to investigate widespread government corruption.

The peaceful demonstration moved through the streets of the capital city to the presidential palace, where some 20 hunger strikers have set up camp. Some of the activists, including indigenous people, have been on hunger strike for over a month since starting their protest on June 22.

Activists from the indigenous organization COPINH march in support of hunger strikers in Tegucigalpa Thursday. | Photo: EFE

Leader of the Lenca indigenous organization COPINH and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, Berta Caceres, told reporters that Honduran people “are tired of so much corruption.”

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Caceres, who has received harassment and death threats for her human rights and environmental activism, also reiterated popular calls for officials guilty of fraud in the country's massive Social Security Institute embezzlement scandal be brought to justice for their crimes.

Demonstrators also voiced support for journalist David Romero, who broke the story of the National Party receiving US$90 million of more than US$200 million stolen from the Social Security Institute. Globo TV's Romero now faces a possible prison sentence as a result of trial for 41 charges, including slander and defamation.

“Honduras: Outraged hunger strikers give support to journalist David Romero.”

The multi-million dollar Social Security Institute scandal is just one of at least a dozen corruption cases that have recently come to light in the Central American country. President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his ruling National Party are implicated in siphoning millions from public coffers.

RELATED: Honduran Democracy Still in Crisis 6 Years After Coup

The high-profile corruption cases sparked the popular “outraged” movement, bringing tens of thousands to the streets in two months of weekly anti-corruption marches calling for Hernandez's resignation and the establishment of an independent body to conduct a government fraud probe, like Guatemala’s CICIG, beginning with the president.

Opposition parties have proposed a national referendum on the question of establishing a U.N. anti-impunity body, which would be known as CICIH, in Honduras.

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