Honduran national police and military forces threw tear gas at and chased out opposition supporters from the area in front of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in Tegucigalpa early this morning, according to teleSUR correspondent Gilda Silvestrucci.
Several people had to be taken to the hospital for treatment and tear gas fumes spread into the TSE offices forcing the staff to evacuate for a short time.
Supporters of Opposition Alliance presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla remain on the rainy capital streets this morning, blocking off avenues, saying they will continue to protest along the “main streets” of Tegucigalpa, reported La Prensa.
Nasralla maintains the TSE is manipulating the presidential vote count, now in its fifth day, to favor the candidate’s main opponent, incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez of the right-wing National Party.
At a press conference late last night Nasralla said, "We do not trust [TSE] results because they are cheating [and] manipulating the system." He claimed the TSE is “stealing” his “victory.”
Nasralla told the crowd he is retracting his signature from an Organization of American States document he signed just hours before promising to recognize the TSE election results. "The document I signed today with the OAS has no validity," he said.
The opposition candidate said he will only recognize the “18,103 physical ballots made at voting booths [that] confirm that Salvador Nasralla is the constitutional president of the republic for the period of 2018 to 2022, according to the decision of the majority of the Honduran people.”
He noted at the conference that the TSE computer system unexpectedly shut down on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. and workers “began to count unsigned ballots,” when only signed ballots are considered legitimate. The TSE website stopped posting election results on its website for 36 hours on Monday and resumed again on Tuesday, pressured by the European Union Parliament Electoral Observation Mission in Honduras.
“I will not accept the results of ballots from the [TSE] that are being put in without signatures and are changing the popular vote … They take us for idiots and want to steal our victory," Nasralla added.
Also on hand at the press conference was former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a military coup in 2009. "This is the first time [in presidential electoral history] that the TSE hasn’t produced vote results in the time stipulated for the electoral process," Zelaya said.
Nasralla has called out several other electoral irregularities since polls closed Sunday evening, including that some polling stations closed at 4:00 p.m., an hour earlier than mandated. He said the TSE computer system was tampered with, eliminating certain electoral transparency and security mechanisms.
The opposition candidate also noted that the TSE is not counting ballots from regions sympathetic to him and his party, instead, counting those from departments aligned to Hernandez, cutting Nasralla’s once 5 percent lead to now favor Hernandez by about 1 percent in the polls.
According to the TSE website at 8:50 a.m. local time, with 88.57 percent of the votes counted, Nasralla was behind with 41.7 percent to Hernandez' 42.48 percent.
In a press conference Tuesday, Marisa Matias, mission leader of the European Union Parliament Electoral Observation Mission in Honduras, agreed that the TSE needed to count ballots faster and that the TSE and National Party need to be “depoliticized.”
The TSE President David Matamoros told the press, "The process is still moving forward. We are working hard so we can inform the Honduran people. And, obviously, the ballots that are missing are the ballots that, just like all ballots, represent the will of the people expressed on election day."
Nasralla finished the press conference saying, “David Matamoros is doing everything possible to take away our victory.”