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Cablegate: Resistance Movement Demonstration

VZCZCXRO4832
RR RUEHAO
DE RUEHTG #0183 0572336
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 262336Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0012
INFO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR JTF-BRAVO
RHMFISS/COMSOCSOUTH
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS TEGUCIGALPA 000183

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SOCI PREL HO
SUBJECT: Resistance Movement Demonstration

1. (SBU) Summary: The anti-coup "resistance" movement held a
peaceful demonstration on February 25 in Tegucigalpa in which about
10,000 protestors participated. The demonstrators tried to march
to the Executive Building and, when they found the street leading
there blocked by security forces, went to the National Congress.
Resistance movement leader Rafael Alegria told PolOff that the
purpose of the march was to call for a constituent assembly and for
the end of human rights violations and to demonstrate support for
civil servants and public education. The resistance plans to hold
a demonstration on February 27 in San Pedro Sula. Alegria said
the resistance plans to hold such demonstrations on a monthly
basis. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The anti-coup "resistance" movement held its first large
demonstration since the January 27 inauguration of President
Porfirio Lobo on February 25 in the capital of Tegucigalpa. The
resistance movement is scheduled to hold a demonstration on
February 27 in San Pedro Sula, the country's economic capital and
second largest city. The demonstrators, who numbered about 10,000,
marched to the Executive Mansion, but were unable to reach that
destination because security forces had closed off the street. The
protestors then marched to the National Congress and concluded
their demonstration at that location. The march was peaceful. As
was the case with anti-coup demonstrations held while the de facto
regime was in power, many members of the teachers' unions
participated in the demonstration and we believe their
participation may have significantly increased the number of
protestors. The Embassy received a report that when a police
officer attempted to stop a protestor from spray painting a wall,
two to three individuals approached the policeman and brandished
firearms. The police officer retreated and returned with
reinforcements, but the individuals who had produced the weapons
ran away and the police were unable to detain or capture them. The
U.S. came under criticism by the protestors, who shouted that the
U.S. Ambassador was too involved in Honduran affairs and was
telling the Lobo government how to run the country.

3. (SBU) Resistance leader Rafael Alegria told Poloff on February
25 that the purpose of the demonstration was to call for a
constitutional assembly and for the end of human rights violations
as well as to demonstrate support for civil servants and public
education. Alegria said the resistance movement was awaiting a
reaction from the Presidency to the march. Alegria expressed
satisfaction with the turnout, but also noted that the resistance
lacks funds. He told Poloff that the resistance movement plans to
hold one large demonstration monthly and that particular groups,
such as unions and teachers, may hold additional demonstrations.

4. (SBU) Comment: This protest demonstrates that the resistance
movement is not a spent force. Its members failed to achieve their
goal of reinstating President Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya to office
and are now touting the holding of a constituent assembly as their
principal objective and as the solution to the Honduran political
crisis. The resistance movement has asked that President Lobo
meet with them as a movement, but thus far he has taken the
position that he will meet individually with the different groups
that belong to the resistance movement, but that he will not meet
with the resistance as an entity or movement. The resistance has
refused to recognize the November 29, 2009 general election and
thus argues that the Lobo government lacks legitimacy.
LLORENS

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