At least six persons were wounded in clashes between police and protesters in Honduras on Tuesday. The protesters have voiced their opposition to the visit of Nikki Haley, the United States' Ambassador to the United Nations, and her country's support for President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was re-elected amid electoral fraud allegations in November.
Hundreds of protesters gathered near the United Nations office in Tegucigalpa to protest the visit. They burnt tires and carried coffins and crosses in memory of the almost 40 persons, who died during the protest in December and January, following Hernandez's reelection.
The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd after protesters had allegedly provoked them.
Haley is visiting the Central American country to back Hernandez as the legitimate president of Honduras and as a friendly gesture for their support of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
“I want to thank the president and the Honduran people for their support of our decision to move the Embassy to Jerusalem,” declared Haley on the first day of her two-day visit.
The protest was led by former opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla and his campaign coordinator and former president Manuel Zelaya, who reportedly entered the U.N. office to hand in a letter to Igor Garafulic, U.N. representative in Honduras, asking for a dialogue.
The Honduran opposition claims Hernandez was reelected in a fraudulent electoral process, in which he suddenly had the lead after the ballot counting system crashed for several hours.
During her meeting with Hernandez, Haley said that people “could get a little mad” after the elections, and considered that a dialogue between him and the opposition is essential.
Hernandez said he was ready for dialogue, adding that “some opposition leaders have said they're ready,” referring to Nasralla's most recent comments.
“Let's not waste more time. Honduras is bleeding, let's proceed with a binding dialogue ... I propose Jose Mujica, Baltasar Garzon or Felipe Gonzalez as mediators,” tweeted Nasralla, who claims he won the November 2017 presidential elections.
The United States recognized Hernandez as the elected president of Honduras after a month of violent clashes between protesters and the police. The government then sent Haley to Honduras and Guatemala to thank them for their support regarding Jerusalem.
Hernandez also asked Haley to extend the Temporary Protected Status for Honduras' people in the United States, to temporarily prevent the deportation of about 60,000 Hondurans from the North American country.
According to the Center for Justice and International Right, 1,257 people were arrested, 38 were killed, 76 were tortured and 393 injured since the start of the demonstrations in December. Several persons are also still missing.