Thousands of Hondurans protest president in latest march

Photo; Panampost

Photo; Panampost

Tens of thousands of Hondurans, many of them holding torches, marched Friday to demand the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez during the latest in a series of demonstrations accusing him of corruption.

The demonstrators crammed onto Tegucigalpa’s Suyapa Boulevard near the presidential palace, shouting “out with JOH,” referring to the president by his initials.

Activists put the number of protesters at around 100,000.

The protesters, who were rallying for a sixth Friday, called for the United Nations to form a commission to investigate the president.

During their first protest, demonstrators carried candles, but all subsequent marches have seen participants carrying torches, which have become a symbol of the movement.

Meanwhile twelve members of the movement are on hunger strike near the presidential palace.

The protesters allege Hernandez received government money illegally in his campaign for the 2013 presidential election that he won.

Hernandez admitted his conservative ruling National Party had in fact accepted $94,000 that had been misappropriated from social security funds.

The opposition charges more than $300 million was skimmed from dirt-poor Honduras’s public health system.

On Friday a judge released from jail deputy congressional speaker Lena Gutierrez and 15 others who are accused of taking part in the graft scandal and sent them home pending their initial hearing on July 30.

Prosecutors argued against the move, saying that the individuals pose a “flight risk.”

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