TEGUCIGALPA – Several unknown persons threw three Molotov cocktails Saturday at the daily El Heraldo building in Tegucigalpa, but no one was hurt in this second attack against Honduran media in two days, police said.
The bombs started a fire in the main entrance of El Heraldo, which like most of the national dailies has backed the de-facto government installed after President Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a coup in late June.
Nonetheless, the fire was put out with extinguishers by the newspaper’s security guards, National Police spokesman Orlin Cerrato told Efe.
Several men threw bombs at the front of the building from a moving vehicle, he said.
Cerrato said that police have their suspicions, “from what they found at the Pedagogical University,” as to the possible perpetrators of the attack, but without naming any person or group in particular.
The authorities seized this week at least 13 Molotov cocktails at the National Pedagogical University, where Zelaya supporters have stayed upon arriving from the nation’s interior to take part in the Tegucigalpa marches to demand his reinstatement.
The police spokesman said that “this is the second incident in which they’ve tried to damage the media” between Friday and Saturday.
Four unknown, heavily armed individuals on a highway in the eastern province of Olancho on Friday set fire to a truck delivering the newspaper La Tribuna, another supporter of Micheletti’s “interim” government.
The chief shareholder of La Tribuna is Honduran ex-President Carlos Flores, who governed from 1998-2002 as a member of the Liberal Party, to which both Zelaya and Micheletti belong.
Also on Saturday, followers of deposed Honduran President Zelaya protested in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the country’s two most important cities, to demand his restitution in power. They were closely watched by members of the police and army.
The marches this week in Tegucigalpa have been followed closely by police and the military “as a preventive measure against possible disturbances” such as occurred last Tuesday and Wednesday, a police official told Efe.
Saturday’s march of Zelaya supporters in Tegucigalpa took in poor neighborhoods and suburbs, as well as a rally in front of the residence of popular leader Carlos Reyes, who is recovering from injuries he sustained two weeks ago in a clash between the deposed president’s followers and police.
Honduran soldiers removed Zelaya from office on June 28 just hours before voters were supposed to cast ballots in a non-binding plebiscite on the idea of revising the constitution.
Though the coup leaders accuse Zelaya of seeking to extend his stay in office, any constitutional change to allow presidential re-election would not take place until well after the incumbent stepped down.
The Organization of American States, the European Union and the United States have been urging Micheletti to accept the San Jose Accord, a formula devised by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to resolve the crisis.
The Arias plan calls for Zelaya to return and serve out his term, which ends in January 2010, and for a political amnesty that would protect both the coup plotters and the ousted head of state, accused of various offenses by the Micheletti regime.
Zelaya would head a national unity government and the general elections now scheduled for Nov. 29 would be moved up to October.
No nation has recognized the coup regime, the OAS has suspended Honduras and Washington has revoked the U.S. visas of Micheletti and several of his associates.
But President Barack Obama’s administration signaled last week that it has no plans for sanctions to force the coup regime to step down.