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Police Brutality in Honduras

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Police Brutality in Honduras - by Stephen Lendman

On June 28, 2009, a coordinated State Department-Pentagon project allied with Honduran military commanders and top opposition figures ousted President Manuel Zelaya, establishing the current fascist dictatorship, supported, armed, and funded by Washington. 

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In fact, all Honduran officers from captains on up are trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the School of the Americas (SOA), popularly known as the "School of Assassins."

Established in 1946, SOA Watch calls it "a combat training school," teaching soldiers how to torture, repress, exterminate poor and indigenous people, overthrow democratically elected governments, assassinate targeted leaders, and suppress popular resistance when it erupts. 

As a result, its graduates have "left a trail of blood and suffering in every country," sending recruits to learn the latest ways to brutalize, disappear, and massacre their people back home, including in Honduras.

On March 31, Rights Action contributor Karen Spring headlined, "Honduras Is Burning - Endless Repression by Military-Backed Regime," saying:

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After two weeks of brutal repression, anger over 18 political prisoners on trial for illegally protesting and sedition, and attempts by the fascist government to privatize public education, public school teachers and the National Front of Popular Resistance (NFPR) called a nationwide strike.

On March 30, NFPR reported widespread protests, shutting down many highways. "Live rounds (were) fired at protesters at some of the take-over" locations, injuring many people. "Severe repression (was reported) in Nacaome, Planes, Tegucigalpa, Potrerillos, Santa Cruz de Yojoa, Santa Rosa de Copan and San Pedro Sula, as well as in other communities and neighborhoods throughout the country.

On April 1, March of the Drums celebrants, commemorating 214 years since the Garifuna people arrived in Honduras, released a statement declaring "nothing to celebrate," saying:

"We commemorate, we do not celebrate. Because we cannot celebrate the infamous inhumane and genocidal exile" suffered by our ancestors....a flagrant violation of the most elemental human rights that even today the aggressor powers refuse to repair." Its "pseudo-leadership (is) completely disconnected from the daily reality of a community that is bleeding and agonizing through the systematic loss of its ancestral richness," compounded by more suffering from police state neoliberal repression.

On March 30, occupying major roads, bridges, universities, and other locations, police attacked protesters and gatherings with tear gas, water canons, batons, and live fire, unconfirmed reports saying at least four dozens were arrested, many others injured, and at least one killed.

Police illegally swept through the National Autonomous University (UNAH), accosting non-participating students. They resisted. Several were seriously hurt. Teachers were also attacked. Outside, they beat, tear-gassed and arrested anyone they encountered.

On March 25, students' parents demonstrated against daily violence. Police confronted them with tear gas and batons. On March 26, teachers and NFPR members organized a motor vehicle caravan through Tegucigalpa streets. A nurses' group also announced plans to protest.

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Those arrested were held in a military building basement, despite constitutional prohibitions against using "special installations" for incarceration. On March 21, police assaulted 13 reporters covering a demonstration, destroying their equipment. 

In the past 18 months, 10 reporters were killed. Also targeted are human rights workers, other activists, unionists, campesinos, and anyone promoting democratic change.

On March 27, the government said teachers not returning to classes would be suspended for a year without pay. On March 30, Human Rights Watch (HRW) headlined, "Honduras: Probe Charges of Police Brutality," saying:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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