TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - About 8,000 protesters marched through the Honduran capital on Friday calling on President Juan Orlando Hernandez to resign after he admitted his 2013 presidential campaign took money from companies linked to a major corruption scandal.
Bearing torches, demonstrators shouted “JOH out, JOH out” using Hernandez’s initials, and marched through the center of Tegucigalpa to local offices of the United Nations, where they demanded the creation of an anti-corruption commission.
A U.N.-backed anti-corruption body has helped uncover corruption in Guatemala, where last month several top officials were arrested in an anti-bribery probe and a number of ministers linked to media investigations into graft resigned.
Investigations into the $200 million scandal that broke last year involving the Honduran Institute of Social Security (IHSS) have pointed to suspect campaign financing.
“It’s intolerable, not just the corruption, but also the cynicism of Honduran politicians and the government,” said one of the protesters, 35-year-old Emanuel Cruz.
Hernandez made the admission on Wednesday, but said he and his National Party were unaware of where the money came from and hoped that an investigation would find those responsible. He also denied any personal involvement in the scandal.
Hernandez, a conservative, took office at the start of 2014 in what is one of the poorest nations in the Americas. The Central American country of around 8.5 million has had the world’s highest murder rate for several years.
Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Bernard Orr