A small group gathered at the 24th street BART station on Friday night, the bright blue-and-white flag of Honduras draped over the wall behind them.
Several hand-lettered signs were inscribed with the same message: “Fuera JOH,” referring to Juan Orlando Hernández, the sitting president of Honduras who ran for, and has apparently won, a second term, a violation of the Honduran constitution.
“Honduras is a young democracy. We’re trying to maintain the integrity and the dignity of our constitution. It deserves to be respected,” said Christopher Lopez, a slender man with a neat mustache.
Lopez, who was born in Honduras and now lives in Berkeley, gazed affectionately at his fellow protesters clustered around the flag.
“We know that thousands and thousands, if not millions, of Hondurans are marching to raise more awareness,” he said, referring to the protests in Honduras that erupted after the Nov. 26 presidential election.
The election produced no clear winner, only charges of fraud and corruption from the opposition candidate, former sportscaster Salvador Nasralla and his supporters.
The results of the election, which have not been formally announced, showed a slim margin of victory for Hernández, who has 43 percent of the vote, compared to 41 percent for Salvador Nasralla, according to the country’s electoral commission.
“Many of the votes that were counted in favor of Hernández were from Hondurans who are deceased,” noted Lopez, adding that the outlying departamentos, or rural districts, that showed the highest support for Hernández, also host the highest number of officers belonging to the heavily militarized police force. “In reality, those are the areas that have military police repressing the vote,” said Lopez.
The election has yet to be certified by the commission, and the country has been in a state of paralysis, with ongoing protests — in which 16 people have died at the hands of the security forces, and 1,675 Hondurans have been arrested, according to news reports.
Lopez and many Hondurans at home believe Nasralla should be sworn in as the new President of Honduras. “They refuse to recognize that they’ve lost the election.”
“We’re demanding that the President — Nasralla — be inaugurated,” said Hernández. “We refuse to have Honduras converted back into the banana republic of the twentieth century. We want a fair and transparent democracy. It deserves to grow.”