Garifuna leader Miriam Miranda, coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH, was arrested in the northern port city of La Ceiba on Wednesday.
According to the activist, four police officers stopped the vehicle she was traveling in, along with three members of the Platform of Social and Popular Movements of Honduras, the PMSPH. After reviewing the driver’s documents the police officers said, “Get out, you're going to jail,” according to the activist.
The arrest, which was denounced as “illegal” by the PMSPH, lasted about 30 minutes, according to the activist, and occurred despite the Garifuna leader being placed under police protection at the request of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, or IACHR, just like Berta Caceres was before she was assassinated.
In October, Miranda was awarded the "Carlos Escaleras" environmental prize for her 30 years of activism in defense of the Garifuna community's land rights, which are threatened by major development projects in the country.
The Garifuna people descend from West African slaves and number around 100,000 in Honduras alone, with sizeable populations also in Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
With her leading the organization, OFRANEH are currently fighting two cases against the Honduran state at the IACHR and recently brought Randy Jorgensen, a Canadian businessman, to trial in Trujillo for a huge tourism project displacing Garifuna communities on their own land.
"National police free Miriam Miranda after she was detained despite being under police protection."