After Honduras’ Election Crisis, Protesters Are Still in the State’s Crosshairs

After Honduras’ Election Crisis, Protesters Are Still in the State’s Crosshairs
A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister during the swearing-in of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jan. 27, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Eduardo Enrique Urbina Ayala was shocked to see his face and name making the rounds on social media, in posts that framed him as the person responsible for setting fire to a military truck during a protest at the height of Honduras’ post-election crisis in December. The 22-year-old activist had left the country five days before the vehicle went up in flames.

“I was already in Costa Rica,” Urbina told me over Skype from an undisclosed Costa Rican city. “I have everything documented in my passport … It’s proof from the state itself.”

Nineteen days after Honduras’ contested Nov. 26. election, with no official results but plenty of suspicions of fraud, a young man set fire to a military vehicle during opposition protests in the capital city Tegucigalpa. It came as thousands took to the streets for the third consecutive week of mostly peaceful protests across the country to reject what they said was a stolen election to consolidate a creeping dictatorship under President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The same day, state forces opened fire on protesters, killing two in the industrial capital of San Pedro Sula and nearby Villanueva.

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