Honduras troops shoot dead teenage girl amid election crisis protests

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Kimberly Dayana Fonseca shot dead in Tegucigalpa as protesters claim election fraud, as 10-day curfew is imposed by Authorities

A teenage girl was killed as troops opened fire on unarmed protesters in the Honduran capital on Saturday, after the government declared that a 10-day curfew and suspended constitutional rights in an attempt to include an escalating political crisis fuelled by evidence of electoral fraud.

According to witnesses, Kimberly Dayana Fonseca, 19, has been shot dead in Tegucigalpa in the early hours of Saturday morning by military authorities — members of a massive force faithful to the rightwing government of Juan Orlando Hernndez, who is accused of meddling in the vote count after last Sunday’s election in an attempt to cling to power.

There were reports of severe injuries and mass detentions after the government deployed troops throughout the country in what many fear is a return to autocratic rule. At least four people were confirmed dead.

Six days after the election, the winner of this presidential race has still not been declared by the beleaguered electoral commission (TSE), that can be controlled by Hernndez’s National party.

The resistance Alliance leader, Salvador Nasralla, was five points ahead before a spate of irregularities including cryptic delays in computer glitches and rural votes watched his apparently insurmountable lead overturned.

“The fraud can no longer only be called fraud,” Eugenio Sosa, a sociologist and political analyst, told the Guardian. “This really is a type of electoral coup against the president-elect, Salvador Nasralla.”

The election debacle has dropped the Central American country of 8.5 million people into its worst political crisis as a 2009 military-backed coup which unleashed a violent crackdown against social and political activists.

Relatives of Kimberly Fonseca who had been shot during a protest mourn next to her coffin in Tegucigalpa. Photograph: Edgard Garrido/Reuters

The current crisis is closely connected to the consolidation of power from Hernndez and his allies since the coup, that has contributed the National party control over Congress, the judiciary and the armed forces. Hernndez utilized a ruling by judges in the court to warrant his bid regardless of the constitution prohibiting re-election of leaders or sitting.

Military police units were patrolling the streets of Tegucigalpa, where no more unrest had been reported by Saturday afternoon. The curfew, which began on Friday at 11pm local time with very little warning, suspends the right to free motion from 6pm to 6am and allows security forces to detain anyone breaking the curfew or who is “in some manner suspected of causing damage to people or their property”.

Honduras received $17.3m in security support in the US this past year.

The resistance Alliance claimed violence and looting seen in some cities was prompted by government-aligned provocateurs.

Human rights groups fear that a new terror law, approved weeks prior to the election, will be used to quell dissent. After resistance leaders issued a call for mobilizations in squares and parks, thousands are expected to show across the country on Sunday morning.

Cracks appear to be growing over the electoral commission. TSE magistrate Marco Ramiro Lobo told the Guardian the postponed rural votes and computer failures — the main system and backup both allegedly failed — must be researched as “the tribunal president on Monday gave the order to stop counting for 10 to 12 hours”.

Alliance leaders are locked in negotiations with the TSE within an 11-point list of demands.

“The Alliance’s demands to get a transparent recount should be met … otherwise this will go on for days and call in to question the legitimacy of this procedure,” said Lobo.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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