The 15th of September is Independence Day in Honduras. Every year, the day is celebrated in different cities with parades, special events, and military music played by bands of local schools. However, since the coup d’état, the 15th of September has turned into an opportunity for various sectors of the Honduran resistance to protest, rather than to celebrate. In the big cities, the opposing parades are now normally held at the same moment, one “official” parade, and one march of protest. The previous year, in San Pedro Sula, the event organized by the resistance was violently repressed by the state forces in the Central Park, leaving one dead (Efraín López), several wounded, and many hurt by the teargas used. The reason given for the intervention by the authorities was that some of the participants in the resistance march had been attacking the official parade. It is worth noting that a year later, these events have passed without anyone being prosecuted. Therefore, as the day of the 15th approached, various defenders of human rights from San Pedro Sula were afraid that the events would repeat themselves two years running. This year, several international observers were present, including a delegation of human rights organizations from the United States, and the Honduran Accompaniment Project.
The parade, organized by various sectors of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (National Front of Popular Resistance) began in San Pedro Sula at the José Trinidad Reyes Institute in the city. Only a week after the assassination of Emmo Sadloo, a well-known figure of the Honduran resistance, many signs expressed outraged at the killing. At 8:30am, the parade set off towards the town center. Fortunately, in the approximately two hours that it took for the march to reach the Central Park, there were no reports of repressive acts or other such incidents, and the people that took part in the event – around 5,000, many of whom were students – were able to arrive at the destination in a peaceful fashion with almost no presence of government agents. There, the event continued with speeches and songs, conducted on a stage in front of the Cathedral.
Once the show of resistance had finished, just two blocks from the Central Park passed the official equivalent. Tightly surrounded by police officers with shields and batons, the marchers made their way without any incident. Ready for action, a huge number or police vehicles – including an armoured truck with a water cannon – were mobilized around Eleventh Avenue and West First Street. However, although the 15th of September was a success for the organizers of the “parallel” march in San Pedro Sula, not all marches were so lucky in avoiding violence. From 1pm, Radio Progreso was reporting the evidence of strong repression by the police and army in the Valley Aguán, who used batons and teargas indiscriminately.