Juan Orlando's inauguration: Stadium empty, streets full. A photo-essay.

Days before the inauguration, La Prensa gushed that the stadium was gleaming in anticipation of the event, featuring a picture photoshopped beyond credulity, trees and field neon green, with the unlit Tigo ad on the hill positively glowing.

The article ends thusly:


Members of the Liberty and Refoundation (Libre) Party prepare a protest and acts of anarchy against the smooth execution of the presidential transfer ceremony.

"We know that some people from the most radical unions affiliated with Libre are wanting to sneak in with t-shirts of President Juan Orlando" denounced Lisandro Rosales, coordinator of the ceremony. Security will be reinforced."


Miembros del partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre) preparan un boicot y actos de anarquía en contra del buen desarrollo de la ceremonia de traspaso presidencial.

“Se sabe que algunas personas de los sindicatos más radicales afiliados a Libre están queriendo introducirse con camisetas del presidente Juan Orlando”, denunció Lisandro Rosales, coordinador de la ceremonia. Reforzarán la seguridad.

Following Juan Orlando Hernández's inauguration yesterday, the mainstream Honduran papers will let you know which ladies were best dressed, but you won't see pictures showing the bleachers, which were nearly empty. Here are a few shots taken during the event, circulating on the non-mainstream listservs:

Footage of the ceremony including shots of the empty stadium aired last night on TV Globo, which acquired it despite the fact that TV Globo journalists were prohibited from entering the event (unlike journalists from other media). It was astounding to see that even with all the people paid and bussed in to attend, the inaugural venue was still that empty.

As it turns out, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, head of Obama's delegation to the inauguration, didn't have to cross a picket line to get in after all. That's because all the roads anywhere near (up to over a mile in some cases) the stadium were blocked by military check points, allowing only preselected attendees to get there. But that didn't stop workers and just about every other (overlapping) group from taking to the streets to protest. Here are some pictures I took yesterday out and about.

The streets in the center were weirdly empty at 9am.

Some of the newspaper covers. Unfortunately not pictured here is the one with the creepy upward-facing shot of Juan Orlando Hernández's face, with the ominous headline: "Inicia la era JOH."

Some pictures from outside the Congress building:

Road to the stadium blocked by police and military with tanks:

The motorcycle resistance club leading the march, missing Emo 2, killed on the day after the elections:

Front of the march, including the resistance ice-cream guy:

Honduran coup: made in USA:

Freedom of expression in Honduras:

For marchers, Xiomara is president:

Félix Molina and a woman with a great poster:

Close-up of said poster. It reads:

Monstrous fraud!
You're not president, you're a criminal [rhymes]
Thief dictator
No to the huge new tax package [and privatization of] the ENEE [national public electric company]
No to the gas price hike goddamn son of a bitch
No to the hike in cement prices
What did you do with the millions of cement profits thief you gave it to the interlopers
Seeking a thief who robs triumphs!
666 Satan
Drug traficker

One of the abuelas en resistencia:

Xiomara fan, the bottom of her poster reads "2013 Elections Stolen":

Someone making speeches from the pickup truck bed:

Another proud abuela en resistencia:

The Comayagua and La Paz Patriotic Front's banner: GRINGO TROOPS OUT!

Another gringo troops out banner:

Some people came with headgear just in case:

Lots of FNRP flags. Morazán is always featured:

Romero, another Central American icon:

A few people still had Mel-focused signs, reminiscent of the time when he was still in exile, although more people had images of Xiomara (who unfortunately didn't seem to be there):

Firecrackers energized people in the crowd, even if they freaked me out:

Lots of different anti-JOH t-shirts:

These two guys appeared to be sending a message with their clothes that a lot of people agree with right now. For better or worse.

SITRAEXPRECO union members marching with their banner:

People's Resistance Front of the Central District Municipality:

Emo Sadloo Free Territory Base Collective No. 1 Colonia San Miguel:

Liberation theologists in resistance:

Nice to see someone in a wheelchair joining the march. Tegucigalpa is generally one of the least-accessible places I know.

The kids doing their thing:

This. "His Excellency Nation Seller, JOH President Imposition":

Socialist Workers' Party:

COPINH, with Berta Cáceres, who had been briefly imprisoned the previous day as part of the ongoing criminalization, harassment, and attacks on human rights defenders and social justice activists that are central to JOH's strategy:

Some more COPINH/Refoundationalists:

The witches, feminists in resistance:

The march went up the hill to the bridge:

...past the construction workers, taking a break from working on the metro bus, a horrible mess of a municipal project in overpriced "public" transportation that has caused huge traffic problems for many months but which is making the contractor buddies of the National Party municipal government even filthy-richer.

A couple crowd shots:

There was some JOH poster burning:

The fresh new paint on the unused metro bus lines got a makeover:

This guy kept trying to sell me sunglasses, even though I already had sunglasses on, and keychains, even though I showed him my keychain. "Well at least take a picture of me!" he said.

Improvements to the metrobus station. Each tagger seemed to have their own camera crew, and made sure to hood up completely before starting.:

More National Party propaganda burning:

This guy had saved an old Callejas shirt to burn. He held it up, posing to give a good angle to the cameras:

They stole our elections
They are selling off the country in pieces
But they will NOT Steal our dignity, our hope, our smile, our struggle.
We will defend our rights!

Today is an historic day: A DICTATORSHIP is being installed. They imposed a president chosen by the electoral tribunal with the blessing of the Gringo Embassy upon us. The people repudiate him!

Juan Dictator [as opposed to the common phrase, Juan Pueblo]

Nos JOHdimos [we're fucked]:

"No one owes obedience to a usurping government (Art. 3 of the Honduran Constitution). JOH you are not my president":

Enrique Reina, Mel's ambassador in Washington following the coup and vice-presidential candidate with Xiomara was there, along with many other LIBRE leaders.

The public wasn't allowed in the stadium, so Juan Orlando came to the public:

A block or so before getting to Hospital Escuela, marchers were confronted by this:

It was clear the combined police, military police and military presence was too big to overcome, so marchers stayed face-to-face with the joint-force riot squad and rallied there, some posing for pictures defiantly in front of the heavily-armed security forces:

A few view from the hill (with a little erasure on the last one to protect the photographer who brought along his gas mask):

The front row is national police. Behind them are military police. Behind them are military:

One of the graffiti art signs around town by "Acción Poética": "May your dreams be bigger than your fears":

Confrontation shot:

The Mel truck:

This guy, with a modified campaign poster. "SOB You are NOT!! my president":

People watching and supporting from the buildings above:

A different view of the new metrobus station, with some smoke from more firecrackers:

Folks on the other side of the street watching from above:

"JOH You're a FRAUD":

This guy marched with the front page of El Libertador:

More people posing for resistance march photos:

Military police, with national police truck in the background:

Military, on the other side of the same national police truck:

Military police in formation behind National police:

The TV Globo reporter speaking in front of the police:

A number of reporters were behind the police lines, perhaps there to report on the "acts of anarchy" predicted by La Prensa:

Mel talking from the Mel truck:

Andrés Thomas Conteris filming Mel talking on the Mel truck:

An abuela en resistencia (also pictured earlier) in front of the riot police.

In formation.

More marchers posing in resistance:

The Hospital Escuela is in the background here, as are several large military transport vehicles:

Another defiant pose:

The view from below:

More troops assembling:

This woman begging the police and military to realize they are all on the same side. You are sons of campesinos, she said. You're being screwed over too!

and posing with her poster:

Close-up of the truck:

January 27th
of the
I will do whatever I have to do
i.e., Fraud...

Holding up a sign (both sides) facing the riot squad line:
"You don't get to enjoy the millions that your bosses keep for themselves either":

"Police officer and soldier: They have STOLEN from you too":

JOH got a place on the Mel truck:

"No more dictatorship":

"We are in mourning!!! Democracy is dead in Honduras. They have imposed the JOH dictatorship".

This vuvuzela in resistance vendor:

"JOH you won't be my little dictator":

"No to the government of the beast":

Confronting the riot police with the flag:

Another thorough homemade poster.

He never won a poll, not even the ones he paid for. [photo of JOH]
He knows he's not president and that's why he's still carrying out his dirty campaign.
Only they [arrow to photo of Supreme Electoral Tribunal members] know how many votes it took to screw over this honest woman [photo of Xiomara].
[polling station evidence taped below]


Always a Che flag or two:

Pretty great homemade Wanted poster:

The helicopters that circled overhead in formation a couple times. Like the insanely large military presence on the ground, a clear show of the power and intent of the new regime.

More mobile sunglass-vendors-in-resistance:

Leaving the crowd and looking for an open road where I could hail a cab to get back home, I passed several more joint operations in formation. Here's one.

Riot police outside Hospital Escuela (the cab I finally found had to go around a bunch of blockades to drop his first fare off there):

Soldiers by the Edificio Rojo: