Tens of thousands of people supporting the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship protested calling for opposition leader Salvador Nasralla, to be named the election winner as they believe the vote was fraudulent.

Supporters of presidential candidate for the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, Salvador Nasralla take part in a march to claim Nasralla's presidency in San Pedro Sula, 180 km north of Tegucigalpa, on January 6, 2018.
Supporters of presidential candidate for the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, Salvador Nasralla take part in a march to claim Nasralla's presidency in San Pedro Sula, 180 km north of Tegucigalpa, on January 6, 2018. (AFP)

Thousands of demonstrators led by opposition leader Salvador Nasralla gathered in Honduras' second-largest city San Pedro Sula on Saturday to protest the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernandez in a vote they say was fraudulent.

"We will not stop until Hernandez says he's leaving," Nasralla told supporters, many of whom chanted "JOH out!" referring to Hernandez.

It was the first such march in San Pedro Sula since the Nov. 26 election, and the losing candidate once again appealed to the Organization of American States and the countries that have recognised Hernandez's victory to listen to the protesters as they oppose an "illegal government."

Is it illegal?

According to the official count, Hernandez won with 42.95 percent to 41.42 for Nasralla, a former sportscaster backed by a left-leaning coalition.

However the OAS, which had observers monitoring the election, called for a repeat of the vote, saying the official version of the count included "extreme statistical improbability." An early lead by Nasralla disappeared after the public vote count mysteriously stopped for more than a day then restarted.

Hernandez denies the vote was fraudulent and has called on Hondurans to accept his re-election. Some countries, including the United States, have recognised his victory.

Supporters of the opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla burn the U.S flag as they take part in a march to protest against the results of Honduras' general elections in San Pedro Sula, Honduras January 6, 2018. R
Supporters of the opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla burn the U.S flag as they take part in a march to protest against the results of Honduras' general elections in San Pedro Sula, Honduras January 6, 2018. R (Reuters)

National Strike 

Marchers also called for a national strike, including a boycott of Hernandez's inauguration and road blocks around the impoverished Central American nation.

"We are headed to a national strike," said opposition leader Manuel Zelaya, an elected leftist who back in 2009 was ousted himself from the presidency. 

Without giving dates, Zelaya said civil disobedience would be the new strategy. Demonstrators plan to mount roadblocks on major avenues and highways, and at ports and airports, "so that the will of the people is respected," he said.

Electoral officials on Friday rejected the opposition's appeal demanding the annulment of Hernandez's re-election.

The country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), in a statement, cited a lack of evidence and dubbed the opposition's actions "groundless."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies