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'We Don't Want to Repress': Police in Honduras Refuse Orders to Stamp Out Pro-Democracy Protests

"We are tired. And our job is to give peace and security to the Honduran people, not repress them. We want all Hondurans to be safe."

Amid widening violence and ongoing protests, members of the Honduras National Police force—including those within the U.S.-trained units known as the Cobras—say they are refusing  to obey orders from the right-wing government of the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández, who has used the security forces to crackdown on demonstrators and imposed a curfew amid allegations of voter fraud in recent elections.

"We want peace, and we will not follow government orders – we're tired of this," a spokesperson for the police told reporters outside the national police headquarters on Monday. "We aren't with a political ideology. We can't keep confronting people, and we don't want to repress and violate the rights of the Honduran people."

On Monday night, demonstrations in the streets continued as opponents of Hernández poured into the streets with pots and pans—now with the tacit support of the police forces who had earlier been sent disperse them—as they called for transparency in the counting of votes and the ouster of the ruling party. As Reuters reports, "Some police officers abandoned their posts and joined carnival-like demonstrations that erupted across the city hours after night fell and the curfew was supposed to have begun."

While reporting indicated that police officers were also striking in order to receive better wages and treatment from their superiors, a member of the elite Cobras unit—many of whom have been trained by U.S. military operators at the infamous School of the Americas or its descendants—said there was more to their refusal than working conditions for themselves. "This is not a strike, this not about salaries or money," the officer told the Guardian. "It's that we have family. We are tired. And our job is to give peace and security to the Honduran people, not repress them. We want all Hondurans to be safe."

And as TeleSur reports:

A Honduras police officer said on the local television network, UNE,  that some officers will go on a hunger strike as they are tired of taking orders from corrupt politicians to go after innocent people, adding that they aren't machines and are tired of seeing people's blood spill. 

"We can not become violators of Human Rights, if we do it sooner or later we will pay the debt, in fact we are already paying for the violations committed by our superiors in the past, please reconsider and understand and we do not fail our noble institution," the official statement issued by the National Police stated.

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