TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Honduran security forces deployed on Saturday to enforce the curfew as sporadic demonstrations continued during a controversial presidential election that sparked violent protests that killed at least three people.
Hundreds of people have been arrested after the recount of last Sunday's presidential race stalled without a clear winner. The opposition leaders accused the government of trying to steal the elections.
Television star Salvador Nasralla accused his rival, President Juan Orlando Hernández, Saturday of carrying out a "coup" by manipulating the vote count and declaring a curfew to suppress the protests.
International concern has grown over the electoral crisis in the poor Central American country, which is fighting with gangs of violent drug traffickers and one of the highest murder rates in the world.
The lines were formed in supermarkets and early Saturday morning while people were getting supplies, but luxury shopping centers and many stores closed while others closed early while groups of workers waited to take buses and return to their homes before 6 pm at 6 am. He touched the curfew.
"I'm afraid I'll be arrested by the army and get stuck in jail overnight or hit a blockade in the streets," said Daniel Solorzono, 27, as he tossed eggs, bananas and sausages into his beak -up truck in a market and hurried home.
Nasralla's initial advantage of 5 percentage points on Monday was reversed later, after a pause of more than a day in the recount, in favor of Hernández, which generated accusations of electoral fraud and calls for protests. The votes in dispute could oscillate the result.
According to the official count, Hernández had 42.9 percent of the votes, while Nasralla had 41.4 percent, with 95 percent of the votes counted.
The electoral authorities have proposed to have approximately 6 percent of the votes, but Nasralla's party has demanded a broader recount, forcing a confrontation with the ruling party and the electoral authorities.
Heide Fulton, the senior official of the US embbady who currently does not have an ambbadador, asked the Hondurans to refrain from the violence. "The Supreme Electoral Tribunal must have the time and space to count all the votes transparently and free from interference," he said in a Twitter post on Saturday.
A man died in the port city of La Ceiba on Friday and a 19-year-old woman was shot in the head early Saturday morning in Tegucigalpa as soldiers burst the debris blocks of protesters and burned tires that had snarled traffic in the capital and main ports, said a spokesman for the national police.
On Friday, police reported that another protester was killed in La Ceiba.
There were also reports of opposition leaders and a police source indicating that between four and five protesters had been shot dead in the north of the country.
While security forces were clearing blockades in the capital, there were still clogged roads around La Ceiba and other areas outside major cities, a police spokesman said.
More than 200 people have been arrested and more than 20 injured have been reported in skirmishes between protesters and security forces.
Thirty-four people who were arrested during the week would be accused of terrorism, said Col. Jorge Paz, an army spokesman.
The government declared a curfew on Friday, expanding the powers so that the army and the police detain people and break the blockades of roads, bridges and public buildings.
The electoral tribunal could not resume vote counting on Saturday as Nasralla's center-left alliance refused to participate unless the count was extended to three regions with presumed vote manipulation.
The court said it would try to carry out the recount of the disputed votes on Sunday and that it expected the opposition to participate. His senior official said they would evaluate if the count could be expanded.
"What everyone knows is that a coup occurred in Honduras last night precisely in the processing of the ballots, so the whole world will not recognize these elections," Nasralla told local television.
Nasralla, 64, is one of the best-known faces of Honduras and is backed by former President Manuel Zelaya, a leftist who was ousted in a coup in 2009.
Hernández, 49, implemented a military offensive on gang violence that was backed by the United States and is credited with reducing the country's homicide rate.
Additional reporting by Adriana Barrera in Mexico City; Written by Michael O & # 39; Boyle; Edition by Chizu Nomiyama, Mary Milliken and Jacqueline Wong