Protesters in Honduras say they will keep demonstrating until the luxury condominium project is canceled, despite excessive force by police to disperse them.
Thousands of people protested Monday in the suburbs of the Honduran capital of Tegucigualpa against the construction of a luxury residential project that will endanger the preservation of the Honduran national park, La Tigra, located nearby.
The protesters blocked the roads have been blocking the construction site since the early hours of Monday, demanding authorities protect the nature and water threatened by the real estate project, since the park consists in one of the most biodiverse area of the capital.
Anti-riot police officers tear-gassed the protesters, including the elderly and children participating in the march, according to local residents. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) denounced the police excessive use of force against the demonstrators. The commissioner's office said authorities in the area should "respect the right to expression and (the) peaceful gathering of all, including those who reject the project."
Police spokesperson Edgardo Barahona justified the use of tear-gas saying that protesters would refuse to unblock the streets.
The "Santa Maria" condo project will affect the water reserves and the forests of the region, as well as the entire ecosystem, depleting the natural resources and drinking water available for about 45 communities living in the surroundings.
About 20 percent of the residential complex would be located in the zone meant to protect the park, with about 1,800 housing units and about 30 commercial centers planned out for construction project, according to environment organizations.
The Honduran capital is already facing a severe crisis of water shortage and energy outages.