Thousands of people marched in protest in Tegucigalpa on Friday, demanding President Juan Hernandez’s resignation and calling for an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in Honduras’s history.
There had been previous protests where demonstrators took to the streets and marched through the center of Tegucigalpa to the local offices of the United Nations, where they demanded an anti-corruption commission look into the case.
This time, some 25,000 protesters carrying torches marched to the presidential palace chanting slogans against the president.
A coalition of opposition political groups is seeking an independent investigation into a $200 million corruption scandal at the Honduran Institute of Social Security.
Earlier this month Hernandez admitted his conservative National Party took money that had been misappropriated from social security funds, saying he and his party were unaware of where the money came from.
He pledged that investigators would “get to the bottom of all of this,” admitting his presidential campaign accepted $150,000 from companies linked to the scandal but denied any personal involvement.
Hernandez’s offer on Tuesday to start a dialogue with opposition groups was rebuffed as they demand an independent prosecutor not unlike that of Guatemala.
In May, many arrests followed a bribery probe jointly led by Guatemala’s anti-impunity prosecutor and the CICIG, the United Nations run International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.
The CICIG, an independent commission funded by international contributions that the UN administers, has been instrumental in solving high-profile cases and helping Guatemala battle corruption.
The Honduran scandal erupted last year when the opposition claimed that Hernandez received $90 million of the misapropriated $200 million from poverty-racked Honduras's public health system for his 2013 election campaign.