US-Trained Police Are Hunting Down and Arresting Protesters Amid Post-Election Crisis in Honduras

Source: The Intercept

IT WAS THE middle of the night when they broke down the door. The children, aged 3 and 6, and their parents were all fast asleep in their home in Pimienta, a town 18 miles south of San Pedro Sula, in northwestern Honduras.

“They arrived at three in the morning,” said the mother of two whose home was raided. U.S.-trained and supported special forces agents, known as TIGRES, as well as criminal investigation officers searched the family home, flipping over the beds and ripping pillows apart while she and her children watched. Her partner had already been handcuffed and taken outside.

“My kids were frightened and crying,” she told The Intercept outside a San Pedro Sula courthouse. “They treated us like criminals, pointing their weapons at us.”

According to Honduran law, search warrants should only be executed between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., but there have been numerous reported cases of nighttime raids by security forces over the past several months, as the Honduran government cracks down on protests against the contested elections that delivered the presidency to incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández in November.

The Honduran Secretariat of Security claims that the raids and arrests in Pimienta were conducted legally, based on reports from the community, covered by arrest warrants, supervised by a prosecutor, and carried out during the hours allowed by law. Bulletproof police vests and looted items were confiscated during searches, a spokesperson for the Secretariat wrote in response to questions from The Intercept.

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