Sunday, July 5, 2009

El Pueblo Unido - Honduran Military Fires on Protesters

When I finally get back home I promise to more fully describe the events that have happened over the past few days. Im really filled with such a wide range of emotions right now its hard to articulate what I have seen and participated in. I arrived in Honduras to find the people protesting in support of the military coup and protesting against. All peacefully.

I attended many protests and the anti-coup/pro-zelaya marches were quickly growing in size. People from the villages were flooding into Tegucigalpa, and I was told many stories from people who were coming in and had their bus stopped by the military, tires shot and were forced to spend days walking into the city to protest.
When I have time later Ill share many of the stories, but things really came to a head this afternoon. Today was the largest protest and was easily had over one hundred thousand protesters at least. Probably upwards of a million but it was difficult as I never saw the end of the marches. President Mel Zelaya was set to return this afternoon, so the protest marched on the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa. People were completely peaceful, and very well organized. The march was met with three military roadblocks which were peacefully moved as police and military retreated.

As we eventually reached the final destination, the end of the runway a man on a loudspeaker spoke passionately to the military, begging them to not fire on their fellow Honduran brothers and sisters who only wanted the return of their president. The speaker then explained that we would be entering the airport to escort the president off the plane. People began cutting the fence to enter the airport. Dani and I were about 3 people back from the fence when suddenly tear gas was shot at us and the military began shooting fully automatic guns into the crowd of peaceful protesters around us. The protest was filled with women and children, everyone began screaming and running for cover. I lost Dani for a minute as we tripped over some women who had fallen over. Bullets were flying everywhere as I made my to a restaurant and tried to hide around the corner. I was screaming for Dani, while my eyes and chest burned like I have never experienced before. We made our way behind a wall and car but the shooting began moving closer, hitting all the windows in the restaurant next to us, so we jumped a wall and sprinted down a street to seek cover.

After the shooting slowed down a bit we made our way back to the fence where we were standing, only to find they had shot a man dead next to where we stood, there was blood all over the streets and his motorcycle was riddled with bullet holes. A man who was with him was covered in blood screaming about what had happened. Reports there said 4 died, including one child.
Im working on uploading media, I have thousands of pictures and a lot of video but its difficult with the slow internet connection here.

We are safe now, very shaken up but safe. Tomorrow we will most likely be working on getting out of the country to fly out of Nicaragua. Im very sad about leaving the people here. I am hoping for the best for Honduras, but the situation looks worse and worse by the minute. I still am in complete awe that the military would fire into a crowd of peaceful protesters the way they did. I promise a better account of everything later, but wanted to let everyone know that we are safe. I have some pictures here=

and some video here=

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