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    A demonstrator gestures as she holds a headband reading 'Juan Orlando Hernandez out' during a march to demand the resignation of Honduras' President Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, September 11, 2015. The protesters are calling for the resignation of Hernandez over a $200-million corruption scandal at the Honduran Institute of Social Security. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 October 2015

Honduras is facing a general strike as anger swells over allegations of widespread corruption involving the country's health system.

Honduran activists were preparing Thursday for nationwide protests amid a growing government scandal.

In a statement issued online, the National Front for Popular Resistance (FNPR) warned Honduras is facing a “grave” political crisis, and urged supporters to join a general strike.

The strike has received broad support from social movements, as Honduras faces a growing political scandal.

The strike comes a day after the trial of congressional Vice President Lena Gutierrez began. Gutierrez is accused of involvement in a medical sales scandal. Prosecutors allege a company owned by Gutierrez sold government subsidized medicine at inflated prices. Gutierrez has denied the charges, though activists argue the case is emblematic of a broader culture of corruption surrounding the country's public health system and government.

Since May, Hondurans have been taking to the streets in regular protests denouncing the government's involvement in a fraud and graft scheme that nearly destroyed the national health service. The scandal involved the director of the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS) and other high officials who allegedly siphoned off some US$200 million through inactive shell companies to pay for luxury lifestyles, including mansions, sports cars and lavish parties.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez has not been directly implicated in the corruption scandal, however his party also received millions through the scam for his election campaign – something Hernandez himself was forced to admit.

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