The main opposition candidate called Saturday for the controversial presidential elections in Honduras to be held again after the country erupted in deadly protests over the delay in vote counting and the government imposed a twilight curfew.
Both presidents Juan Orlando Hernández and his rival, television presenter Salvador Nasralla, have claimed victory in last Sunday's vote, which according to the opposition was full of irregularities. The clashes between the protesters and the troops have left at least one person, and maybe half a dozen, dead.
"I have asked them to repeat the elections, but only those of the presidency, with the aim of resolving the crisis that Honduras is suffering," Nasralla told The Associated Press. "I'm sure that people would vote for me" in the vote.
But he said that the new elections "would be under the supervision of an international electoral tribunal, not local, because there are not enough conditions to guarantee" the vote would be fair. "When asked what response he got from the government before the proposal, Nasralla said that "they have not responded and I do not think they will."
Honduran national police said a 19-year-old woman was shot dead during the night in a protest supporting Nasralla by armed men that according to the witnesses were policemen.
Police said another man was seriously wounded in the same shooting, but his whereabouts are unclear, and he is also believed to have died.
"I still do not know if the attackers were cops or not, but the case is being thoroughly investigated, "according to a police statement.
The Coalition Against Impunity, a network of human rights organizations, said that security forces had used the It is believed that four other demonstrators died during the clashes throughout the country. The report was not immediately confirmed by the police; Protesters often take their fallen colleagues.
The protests were reminiscent of the 2009 coup that toppled former President Manuel Zelaya, whose Free Party is part of the coalition led by Nasralla that was formed in an attempt to overthrow Hernandez.
the country's electoral court had finished counting about 95 percent of the polling stacks in the presidential elections from November 26 through Friday and said it would conduct a count of 1,031 more boxes that presented "inconsistencies."
Hernandez had an advantage of more than 46,000 votes over Nasralla before the count of the last stage. It was not immediately clear how many votes could be at stake in the unaccounted for boxes. The count has been essentially frozen because the representatives of Nasralla say that many more ballot boxes should be examined.
Distrust increased amid strange delays in the recount of votes and the sudden reversal of Nasralla's initial advantage. Both Nasralla and Hernandez have declared themselves the winner.
Demonstrators wielding rock have been increasingly thrown into the streets against riot police armed with tear gas, batons and water cannons. National police spokesman Jair Meza said 12 people were injured in clashes between police and protesters and numerous companies were damaged and looted in the capital and San Pedro Sula.
On Saturday, Meza said that more than 300 people had been arrested for looting as they left the shopping centers with electronic products and other goods.
Groups of protesters also continued to block roads with burning tires and other debris.
Zelaya and other opposition leaders called for a mbadive march against the presumed electoral fraud on Sunday.
In a decree read on radio and television, the government's chief of staff, Jorge Hernandez, said Friday night that some constitutional guarantees would be suspended for 10 days to allow the army and the police to control the situation. The government declared a curfew after 6 p.m. at 6 am. in all the country.
The military reported that 115 men and 23 women were detained in San Pedro Sula for violating the curfew on the first night that it was implemented. Later they were released.
On Saturday, the president of the electoral court David Matamoros said he was willing to meet with representatives of the political parties about the differences on the vote count. No announcements will be made until there is a final result.
After speaking with representatives of the opposition alliance and the ruling National Party, Matamoros said on Friday that each party could accredit 60 people to participate in the afternoon's recount along with international observers. He estimated that it could take six hours.
But the opposition published a list of demands that included a broader review of votes in three jurisdictions where it claims that voter turnout was unusually high and said the number of ballot boxes that presented problems was much higher. It was not clear if their demands would be met.
The recount had not yet begun on Friday night because representatives of Nasralla had not arrived: "The wait continues," court spokeswoman Lourdes Rosales said. There were no comments from the court on Saturday morning.
In a statement, the court also said that any suggestion of irregularities in its operations is false.
Heide Fulton, charge d'affaires of the Embbady of the United States in Honduras, requested Hondurans via Twitter on Saturday to remain at peace. "Public meetings must remain peaceful, in accordance with Honduran law."
The Associated Press journalist Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.