Rebellious police return to duty amid disputed Honduran vote

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) – Police officers returned to duty Tuesday after briefly refusing to enforce a curfew aimed at quelling protests over the slow vote count for Honduras’ November 26 presidential election.

Supporters of opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla blocked some highways, deepening the country’s political crisis amid claims of fraud by President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who ran for re-election and held a small lead in the final vote tally.

Hernandez apparently headed off the police discontent by paying Christmas bonuses, promising increases to current salaries of about $450 a month, and offering to build apartments for officers.

“I spoke with a lot of them, and we reached satisfactory agreements,” Hernandez said.

Anti-government demonstrators chant slogans in protest during a government imposed dawn-to-dusk curfew in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. – AP

While financial questions were long thought to underlie the brief, one-day police strike, some officers also said they were tired of constantly battling demonstrations.

Speaking at the gate to a police special forces base, Javier Diaz of the national police said officers were returning to their posts ready to enforce the curfew.

“The only interest of the low-ranking police was respect for the rights of all Honduran citizens,” said Diaz. “We are not going to repress the people. We are going to prevent Honduras from falling into chaos.”