June 28 is the first anniversary of the military coup in Honduras, and the Honduran National Front of Popular Resistance called for demonstrations of support around the world. In Australia protest rallies were held in capital cities, including one in Melbourne organised by LASNET (Latin American Solidarity Network). See http://www.sydney-says-no2honduras-coup.net/ and http://www.mua.org.au/events/national-day-of-action-stop-the-coup-in-honduras/ :
Honduras Coup – what happened, why, and what now?
On 28 June 2009, 5.15am, the military violently invaded the home of elected President Manuel Zelaya. They kidnapped him and put him on a small plane from the US military base into exile.
Honduras is the third poorest country in Latin America and its limited wealth concentrated in several families.
The military coup took place because Zelaya began to implement a number of urgent social reforms in response to grassroots demands – these included a 60% increase in minimum wage, blocking privatisation of the national telephone company and further mining concessions, joining Petrocaribe for cheaper petrol and joining ALBA to fund education, health and development programs.
Most importantly, President Zelaya supported a process to allow the people to form a Constituent Assembly to reform the regressive Constitution which maintains the lack of democracy and exploitation in the country. An official survey to assess the level of support for this project was planned for 28 June 2009. The coup stopped this survey.
Persecution against activists (trade union, farmers, women, teachers, students, GLBTI, human rights, political organisers, etc) opposed to the coup and demanding the formation of a National Constituent Assembly began on the day of the coup and continues today.
Over 50 such activists have been killed, many receiving threats and attempts against them, thousands have been illegally detained, hundreds exiled, hundreds beaten up.
Despite ongoing repression, on 28 June 2010, this brave broad-based and non-violent movement under the banner of ‘National Front of Popular Resistance’, which had never lost sight of the people’s goals, will re-initiate the survey process to demonstrate widespread support for a National Constituent Assembly through a people’s referendum.
They are out to demonstrate that there are many more votes to have a Constituent Assembly to reform the constitution than the meagre percentage of people who voted in the illegitimate and violent election on 29 November 2009 for the present illegitimate President Porfirio Lobo.
They need our support!
The Melbourne protest, held at the State Library in spite of attempts by security to move it away, was supported by a range of groups including Friends of the Earth, the Australia Honduras Solidarity Coalition, the Colombia Demands Justice Campaign, the Chilean Popular and Indigenous Solidarity Network, Socialist Alliance and more. Video footage of the rally, including speeches made by amongst others representatives of FoE Melbourne and the groups mentioned, will be sent to contacts in Honduras as an expression of solidarity.