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Thousands march against election result in Honduras

January 7, 2018

Opposition leader Salvador Nasralla is surrounded by supporters as he arrives for a rally where he reaffirmed his claim on the presidency of Honduras, in the central park of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Following a disputed election marred by irregularities, incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the victor and will be inaugurated on Jan. 27. At a march and rally that drew thousands Saturday, Nasralla said he would not stop calling for protests and civil disobedience until Hernandez agrees to step down. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators led by opposition leader Salvador Nasralla gathered in Honduras’ second-largest city Saturday to protest the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernandez in a vote they say was fraudulent.

“We will not stop until Hernandez says he’s leaving,” Nasralla told supporters, many of whom chanted “JOH out!” referring to Hernandez.

It was the first such march in San Pedro Sula since the Nov. 26 election, and the losing candidate once again appealed to the Organization of American States and the countries that have recognized Hernandez’s victory to listen to the protesters as they oppose an “illegal government.”

According to the official count, Hernandez won with 42.95 percent to 41.42 for Nasralla, a former sportscaster backed by a left-leaning coalition.

However the OAS, which had observers monitoring the election, called for a repeat of the vote, saying the official version of the count included “extreme statistical improbability.” An early lead by Nasralla disappeared after the public vote count mysteriously stopped for more than a day then restarted.

Hernandez denies the vote was fraudulent and has called on Hondurans to accept his re-election. Some countries, including the United States, have recognized his victory.

Street protests in Honduras left at least 17 dead last month but Saturday’s march went without incident.

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