Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Less bread and circuses, more gas and noise bombs

Poison gas, bread and photo opportunities on the 90th day of the Honduran coup, reports James Wilde

September 26, 2009
3 min read

On Thursday Hondurans were treated to a public relations barrage. The junta minister responsible for food and prices toured the supermarkets offering assurance after Wednesday’s panic buying and looting. And in case the news was actually reflecting that the Golpistas had nearly lost control, several thousand ‘camisas blancas’ were mobilised from the civil service to attest that the junta could put more supporters on the streets than the resistance. The craven television and press duly showed aerial photographs of the of the de facto government supporters covering a couple of blocks near the United Nations offices.

The resistance meanwhile were making their presence felt in the barrios and the National University was essentially closed down around 11am after protesters started bonfires. The students, in the absence of any decisive action by the chancellor’s office, voted with their feet, opting to leave rather than face another brutal shut down by the security forces.

Today, Hondurans woke to a strange series of events, starting with the presidential candidates visiting both junta leader Micheletti and President Zelaya at the Brazilian Embassy. Press photographers have been allowed unrestricted access to the embassy, while Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Red Cross medical staff and Zelaya’s personal doctor were denied access to investigate claims that gas and non-lethal noise bombs had been thrown into the embassy earlier today.

Hondurans could be forgiven for considering these turn of events with a certain amount of incredulity given recent reports that the curfew is costing the economy $50 million a day.

Consider this figure, in light of a recent report from Honduran business organisations that said international assistance for the 2009 was estimated to be around $250 million. This external assistance does not primarily fund development projects but subsidises basic government budget expenditures such as the health and education sectors. So while the wealthy politicians and business leaders behind the coup may be able to ‘run out the clock’ until presidential elections, the majority of Hondurans will have to make do an any way they can.

Meanwhile the UN Security Council met today in a private session but rather than a full debate that the Brazilian and other OAS member states had requested, they restricted their debate to the harassment of the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. A simple statement was issued demanding the de fact Honduran Government observe the diplomatic conventions on foreign missions.

Rain is falling this evening and people’s basic anxieties about food were solved by the panic stocking up on basic necessities earlier in the week, so perhaps parents will be trying to explain today’s news to their children, most of whom have not attended classes since the curfews were first imposed on Monday.

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.

Don’t let Uber take you for a ride
Uber is no friend of passengers or workers, writes Lewis Norton – the firm has put riders at risk and exploited its drivers

Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture
Matt Phull and Will Stronge share more thoughts about the postcapitalist potential of the Acid Corbynist project

Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson

New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power

What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains

The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme

Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it

The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going

A very social economist
Hilary Wainwright says the ideas of Robin Murray, who died in June, offer a practical alternative to neoliberalism

Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
Amy Corcoran on organising artistic resistance to the weapons dealers’ London showcase

Beware the automated landlord
Tenants of the automated landlord are effectively paying two rents: one in money, the other in information for data harvesting, writes Desiree Fields

Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton

Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi

A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain

Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank

Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded

West Papua’s silent genocide
The brutal occupation of West Papua is under-reported - but UK and US corporations are profiting from the violence, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson

Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
The Conservatives’ effort at a grassroots youth movement is embarrassingly inept, writes Samantha Stevens

Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis argue that we need to move to a commons-centric society – with a state fit for the digital age

Imagining a future free of oppression
Writer, artist and organiser Ama Josephine Budge says holding on to our imagination of tomorrow helps create a different understanding today

The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics

Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.

Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making

Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show

The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services

With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas

Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world

A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle

Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune

Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali