TEGUCIGALPA – Violence surrounding anti-government protests in the Honduran capital left two people dead and a score of others injured, a spokesperson for the country’s largest hospital said on Thursday.
More than twenty people were brought to the Tegucigalpa Teaching Hospital late Wednesday with injuries and two of them died overnight, Julieth Chavarria told reporters.
Erick Peralta succumbed to a stab wound, while the second fatality, Luis Maldonado, was shot in the head, she said, adding that their bodies were taken to the medical examiner’s office to undergo autopsies.
At least one other person, a minor, was admitted to the Teaching Hospital with a gunshot wound, the spokesperson said.
Hondurans awoke Thursday to blockades on major highways amid strikes by truckers and some elements of the National Police against the backdrop of ongoing demonstrations demanding the removal of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, known as JOH.
Truckers were set to return to work after union leaders and the association representing the transportation industry reached an agreement in the wee hours of Thursday.
The strike, which began three days ago, caused nationwide fuel shortages and long lines were spotted early Thursday at gas stations in the capital and other cities, though suppliers said that the situation would improve as tanker trucks resumed deliveries.
Many commuters struggled to reach their homes Wednesday night due to the widespread roadblocks, accompanied in some locations by vandalism and looting.
Concerns about violence and disorder prompted schools and universities to suspend classes until further notice.
The unrest began last month with a mobilization by teachers and doctors in opposition to proposed education and health care overhauls that workers in those sectors saw as paving the way for mass layoffs and eventual privatization.
Though Hernandez dropped the plans, protests have continued and expanded under the banner “Fuera JOH” (JOH Out).
Some demonstrations have ended with violence, but the opposition maintains the disturbances were the work of pro-government provocateurs aiming to discredit the movement for improved education and health care.
The government invited the coalition formed by doctors and teachers, the Platform for the Defense of Health and Education, to take part in a dialogue, but the group has so far boycotted the official process in favor of its own “Alternative Civic Dialogue.”