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In cities across the U.S.

Protests denounce Honduras coup

Published Sep 3, 2009 10:50 PM

Demonstrators marched in solidarity with the Honduran people in at least 10 U.S. cities on Aug. 28, the two-month anniversary of the June 28 military coup d’état in Honduras which ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The right-wing coup replaced the legally and constitutionally elected Zelaya with Roberto Micheletti, representing the 13-family ruling oligarchy.

Since June 28, the Honduran people have been organizing and resisting in the streets nearly every day, earning the name “los incansables”—the tireless ones—because they have been mobilizing nonstop against the coup.

WW photo: Gloria Rubac

Both Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights have documented widespread police and military abuses directed at anyone who supports the Honduran Constitution or who calls for the return of President Zelaya.

Despite this criminal and unjust attack of a democratically-elected president, an act that has been condemned by virtually every Latin American government, there is hardly a word of protest from the U.S. government. The Obama administration has made contradictory statements about the coup and has said nothing about the daily repression that has intensified since June 28.

In early August the International Action Center, based in New York City, issued a call for demonstrations around the U.S. on Aug. 28 to protest the military coup and support the Honduran people’s resistance.

WW photo: Gloria Rubac

In Mexico City, from Aug. 20 to 24, the Sao Paolo Forum, a discussion group of 520 delegates from 32 countries, representing 62 leftist parties and movements in Latin America and observers from other parts of the world, made solidarity with the Honduran resistance a central point on its agenda.

The National Front against the Coup d’état in Honduras—which unites all anti-coup forces—then made a call to all progressive organizations to protest on Aug. 28 at U.S. embassies around the world against the dictatorship that restored the Honduran oligarchy in complicity with its international backers.

Following are reports from some of the Aug. 28 protests in the U.S.

New York
WW photo: John Catalinotto

Virtually every progressive Latin American organization in the New York metropolitan area plus North American anti-imperialist organizations filled the sidewalk at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue for an evening rush-hour rally before marching to the Honduran Consulate on the East Side. Hundreds of people chanted loudly in Spanish and English in response to the talks at the rally and during the entire march to the Honduran Mission to the United Nations.

Hondurans living in the U.S. addressed the rally, as did anti-war activists, union members, Hurricane Katrina survivors and representatives of progressive movements in many of the countries of Latin America. Teresa Gutierrez of the May 1 Coalition chaired the rally.

New York
WW photo: John Catalinotto

In Union City, N.J., activists from the Jersey City Peace Movement, the International Action Center, Action 21 and Veterans For Peace distributed informational flyers about the struggle in Honduras in this mostly Spanish-speaking community.

A small but spirited group gathered outside the federal building in downtown Tucson in support of the Honduran resistance and to demand an end to the illegal Micheletti regime and the return of Manuel Zelaya to the presidency of Honduras. Banners demanding an end to all U.S. political, economic and military aid to Honduras and no U.S. military bases in Latin America were greeted with honks and waves of support by passing motorists.

A strong picket and speak-out was held in Government Center near the JFK Federal Building in Boston. Activists from the Committee in Solidarity with the Resistance in Honduras and the International Action Center held signs, handed out flyers and addressed the rush-hour flow of workers, explaining and condemning the U.S. role in and support for the right-wing coup in Honduras. A contingent of Honduran activists held the Honduran flag. The speak-out was kicked off by Sergio Reyes of the Committee in Solidarity with the Resistance in Honduras, who explained the coup, the U.S. role and the need for people in the U.S. to support the resistance. Isabel López spoke from the Honduran Project and thanked activists for coming out to support human rights in her country. She called for continued actions until President Zelaya is returned to power.

WW photo: Liz Green

Bob Traynham spoke from the Boston School Bus Drivers, Steelworkers Local 8751, and called for international workers’ unity and solidarity. Ed Childs, chief steward of UNITE-HERE Local 26 at Harvard University, described how in the midst of the economic crisis the money being spent on a right-wing coup to deny workers housing, food and health care in Honduras is needed to provide those things for workers here. Speakers from the IAC condemned the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America since the time of the Monroe Doctrine and highlighted the criminal role of the School of the Americas.

Local activists demonstrated in the rain outside the federal building in Cleveland to show their solidarity with the Honduran people. The protest was co-sponsored by the Peoples Fightback Center and the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America.

WW photo: Liz Green

Despite a driving rain, activists in downtown Detroit demanded “Money for Detroit, not the coup in Honduras!” Protesters denounced the U.S.-backed military coup in Honduras and supported the resistance movement there. Banners and signs also called for no U.S. military intervention against Iran, Pakistan, Latin America and globally, and an end to U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some 40 activists, mostly youth, from a number of anti-war and student organizations held a leafleting barrage and short rally in downtown Atlanta in support of the Honduran people’s resistance to the military coup. Hundreds of informational flyers were distributed to pedestrians, urging them to contact the White House, the State Department and other elected officials and demand the Obama administration take immediate action to end U.S. financial and military support to the illegal government and to support the restoration of President Zelaya. The newly formed Atlanta Honduras Coalition is planning further educational activities. For more information, e-mail [email protected].

A lively and militant demonstration at the federal building in downtown Houston took place during rush hour traffic. Despite harassment by a squad of Houston cops, dozens of activists carried signs and chanted support for the people’s resistance in Honduras and an end to the coup. Speakers took to the open mic from the Harris County Green Party, University of Houston Students Against Sweatshops, UH Students for Fair Trade, Mexicanos en Acción and Justice for Palestinians.

Demonstrations also took place in San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; Phoenix; and other U.S. cities.

John Catalinotto, Martha Grevatt, Michael Kramer, Dianne Mathiowetz, Frank Neisser, Gloria Rubac and Paul Teitelbaum contributed to this article.