The day of national protest continues the activities that began last Thursday when a controversial piece of legislation was approved to dismiss a massive amount of public teachers, doctors and health personnel. The measure also calls for the privatization of health and education services.
On Tuesday, the Honduran police repressed a series of protests in the streets of the capital city of Tegucigalpa by teachers, doctors and students. The education and health sectors remain in firm opposition to the reforms that the National Congress seeks to approve to restructure both sectors.
The protesters defend the "right of Hondurans to education and public health," while the president of the Colegio Medico Hondureño said they are demanding the repeal of the entire decree, not one or two articles, and that "it is not negotiable."
The Law of Restructuring and Transformation of the National Health and Education System, approved last week by the National Congress, was interpreted by the Medical Association of Honduras (CMH) and other related entities as the beginning of a series of mass dismissals of teachers and doctors from the public sector.
Hundreds of thousands of people are marching this May Day to protest these and other neoliberal reforms by the government.
In one of its articles, it was established that the Secretariats of both sectors could "proceed to cancel the appointment agreements and the termination of service provision contracts, in the context of the decisions taken in the process of administrative restructuring."
After a series of legislative debates and even physical altercations, Congress approved two controversial laws, although the medical union and the teachers' organizations allege that the stability of their members is in danger, while maintaining that the reforms push for the privatization of the educational systems and health.
The state-run medical and pension system was already robbed of around US$350 million by President Juan Orlando Hernandez and a ring of politicians within his National Party between 2013 and 2014, diverting funds the party and the president’s 2016 campaign.
The teachers’ union says in addition to the approval of the laws, the way in which is was done, by hand vote is “embarrassing” and violates legislature voting procedures. Members of the medical union agree and say the policy is null because lawmakers didn’t follow voting protocol.