The Honduran Army applies the curfew while the count counting posts –

The Honduran Army applies the curfew while the count counting posts


TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Honduran security forces deployed on Saturday to enforce the curfew that emptied the streets after a controversial presidential election that sparked looting and violent protests that left at least three dead.

A woman appears next to soldiers in the main square of downtown Tegucigalpa minutes before the curfew imposed by the Honduran government while the country is still mired in chaos by a disputed presidential election, Honduras December 2, 2017. REUTERS / Henry Romero

Hundreds of people have been arrested after the recount of last Sunday's presidential race stalled without a clear winner and opposition leaders accused the government of trying to steal the elections.

Television star Salvador Nasralla accused his rival, President Juan Orlando Hernandez, of carrying out a coup on Saturday manipulating the vote count and declaring a curfew to quell 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 gas stations early on Saturday when people were supplying supplies, but many stores were closed and others closed early because groups of workers were waiting to take the buses and return to their homes before 6 pm at 6 am. He touched the curfew.

Nasralla's early advantage on Monday was later reversed in Hernandez's favor, leading to accusations of electoral fraud and calls for protests. The votes in dispute could oscillate the result.

The electoral authorities have proposed to count 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 United States 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.

Riot police stand guard at the main square in downtown Tegucigalpa minutes before the curfew imposed by the Honduran government while the country is still mired in chaos by a disputed presidential election, Honduras 2 December, 2017. REUTERS / Henry Romero

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.

Television footage showed security forces firing tear gas and using a tank to dissolve the protests in the country's second largest city, San Pedro Sula.

More than 200 people have been arrested and more than 20 injured have been reported in the skirmishes between the demonstrators and the security forces.

About 100 people were arrested during the first night of the curfew, but most were released, said Col. Jorge Paz, an army spokesman. Thirty-four people who were arrested during the week will be charged with terrorism, he said.

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 has not been able to resume vote counting on Saturday as the center-left alliance of Nasralla refused to participate unless the count was extended to three regions with alleged irregularities in the vote.

"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.

The leftist center for Economic and Political Research, a Washington-based think tank, said in a statement Friday that authorities should conduct a full vote count because of "credible allegations of irregularities."

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, said the Friday the government put the curfew in place at the request of interested citizen groups. Backed by the United States, Hernandez implemented a military-led offensive against gang violence that is attributed to the reduction of the murder rate in the country.

Additional reports by Adriana Barrera in Mexico City; Written by Michael O & # 39; Boyle; Edition of Chizu Nomiyama and Mary Milliken

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