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Protest in solidarity with people of Honduras

By staff

Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee speaks at Hands of Honduras rally

On Oct. 24 the newly formed Hands Off Honduras Coalition, made up of anti-war and Latin America solidarity groups, organized a demonstration at the major intersection of Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue. 70 people protested in opposition to the military coup d'état in Honduras and to the de facto acceptance of the coup by the U.S. government.

The people of Honduras have bravely resisted the June 28 coup that illegally removed President Manuel Zelaya. The Honduran resistance has carried out huge protests and massive strikes. The military responded with brutal repression including tear gas, clubs and gunfire. They have arrested thousands, killed many and closed down all independent news media.

Meredith Aby, of the Anti-War Committee and the Colombia Action Network, explained the root of the coup, “While in office Zelaya took some strong stands to help his people, like increasing the minimum wage and standing with ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) against the U.S.'s free trade agenda in the region.

Aby continued, “However, this isn't a protest or a movement merely about a president. This is a protest and a movement in solidarity with the people of Honduras. A people who have chosen to defend their right to pick their president and to determine the course for their country. It is just that very idea – the idea of change – that has scared the Honduran elite and their military. Power in Honduras is in the hands of about 100 people from 25 families, while the majority of Hondurans live in poverty. The elite hoped that they could just remove Zelaya and their problem would go away. But the people of Honduras are saying, 'Ya Basta!' 'Enough is enough!' and are refusing to go back to the old ways.”

The Oct. 24 protest’s speakers, signs and chants denounced the U.S. government’s support for the coup government. The U.S. continues to fund the Honduran government and has criticized President Zelaya as 'irresponsible' for trying to return to Honduras to resume his rightful place as president. The U.S has not condemned the repression by the military. Honduran military officers are graduates of the infamous U.S. School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, which continues to train officers from all over Latin America on how to wage war on their own peoples. Recently, groups of U.S. legislators traveled to Honduras in support of a phony 'election' set for Nov. 29. The protest demanded a change in the U.S. policy of intervening in Latin American.

Joe Callahan, of the Minnesota Cuba Committee, gave a passionate appeal for Americans to connect to the cause of Honduras, “In addition to the rifle fire, tear gas and the clubs, a brand new high-tech weapon was used against the Honduran people – sound cannons. One month ago this weapon was used in Pittsburgh against people protesting the policies of the Group of 20. This is a very loud reminder that we are linked together with the peoples of the world, like the people of Honduras. So when we stand up in support of their rights we are fighting for our own rights too.”

Representative of FMLN Committee of Minnesota speaks

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