Thousands of Hondurans marched on Sunday to back a TV star who says the government is trying to steal last week’s disputed presidential election.
Hundreds have been arrested in violent protests that have left at least three dead after the tally from last Sunday’s presidential race stalled without a clear winner.
Waving blue and white Honduran flags as well as red banners of a left-leaning opposition alliance, throngs of mostly young demonstrators banged pots and blew shrill horns as they marched through the capital in support of Salvador Nasralla.
Electoral officials began a partial recount on Sunday.
The electoral tribunal said it was reopening the tallying of votes from 1,031 ballot boxes in which inaccuracies were detected. Nasralla and supporters of his leftist Alliance of Opposition Against Dictatorship have called for a far broader recount.
Nasralla’s representatives were invited, but did not show up for the examination of the tally sheets, suggesting they might no longer recognize the count.
The former sportscaster and game show host told a rally in the capital, Tegucigalpa, that the magistrates of the electoral tribunal “are employees of President [Juan Orlando] Hernandez,” who ran for re-election despite a constitutional ban on doing so.
“The tribunal is not an independent organism and as such is neither credible nor trustworthy for the people,” said Nasralla, 64.
Officials finished counting nearly 95 percent of the ballot boxes from the Nov. 26 election by late Friday and Hernandez held a lead of more than 46,000 votes over Nasralla. It was not immediately clear how many votes could be at play in the so-far untallied boxes.
Both Hernandez and Nasralla have claimed victory. Nasralla had been leading in the count until a lengthy delay interrupted reports from electoral officials, feeding opposition complaints of irregularities. Officials blamed the pause on technical problems and denied any manipulation.
“I have asked them to repeat the elections, but only those for the presidency, with the aim of resolving the crisis that Honduras is suffering,” Nasralla said Saturday.
He said a new election “would be under the supervision of an international electoral tribunal, not the local one, because there aren’t sufficient conditions to guarantee” the vote would be fair.