Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds jailed since Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the winner of the November 26 run-off election.

Honduras has been roiled by deadly protests following a disputed Nov. 26 election, which the center-left opposition has accused Hernandez of stealing.
Honduras has been roiled by deadly protests following a disputed Nov. 26 election, which the center-left opposition has accused Hernandez of stealing. (Reuters)

Juan Orlando Hernandez was sworn in as president of Honduras for a second term Saturday amid protests that he fraudulently won the November election.

Hernandez took the oath at a special session of Congress at the National Stadium, with the bleachers packed with his supporters.

At the event, in which he vowed to “comply with and enforce the Constitution and law,” the 49-year-old Hernandez said he was “committed to developing a process of reconciliation among all Hondurans.”

Supporters of defeated opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla, however, accuse Hernandez of setting up a “military dictatorship,” and insist that the election was stolen.

Hernandez stood for re-election against Nasralla despite a constitutional ban on presidents serving more than one term. 

He narrowly won only after a three-week stretch of often-interrupted ballot counting that stoked tensions and sparked accusations of fraud.

TRT World's Staci Bivens reports.

The leftist opposition held protest actions that shook the country throughout the week, culminating in a mass rally in Tegucigalpa late Friday.

On Saturday, however, protesters could get only within 500 metres of the inauguration event.

The stadium was protected by several rings soldiers and police, who were pressed into duty from around the country.

In the Miraflores neighbourhood protesters hurled rocks at a bus full of Hernandez supporters. Elsewhere, police used tear gas to break up protests.

“The protests do not end today, this will be permanent,” Nasralla told reporters, as he called for new elections.

Siege city

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds jailed since Hernandez was declared the winner of the November 26 run-off election. The result was announced after a three-week stretch of often-interrupted ballot counting that stoked tensions and sparked accusations of fraud.

In the latest protest, around 1,000 women took to the streets of the capital on Thursday, many carrying crosses with the names of those killed protesting the election result, and calling for Nasralla's "victory" to be recognized.

The Organization of American States had proposed holding new elections after its observer mission expressed doubts about the outcome.

However, the OAS recently said it intended to "work in the future with the elected authorities of Honduras."

TRT World's Kieran Burke reports.

US backing

Hernandez stood for re-election against Nasralla despite a constitutional ban on presidents serving more than one term.

The president has implicit backing from the United States, which is pouring millions of dollars into Honduras and neighbouring Guatemala and El Salvador to help improve security.

The three countries, collectively known as Central America's "Northern Triangle," are the biggest source of undocumented migrants heading to the United States, and also key in the fight against drug trafficking.

The head of the Honduran government commission, Omar Rivera, told reporters the police chief and two subordinates would undergo a "re-evaluation process" in the wake of the news reports alleging their involvement in aiding the drugs shipment in 2013.

Source: AFP