July 4, 2015 / 2:47 AM / in 2 years

Honduras stages biggest march yet to demand president step down

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Tens of thousands Hondurans poured onto the streets of the capital Tegucigalpa on Friday to demand the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez in the biggest demonstration yet against the country’s leader over allegations of corruption.

An estimated 60,000 demonstrators, many of them holding torches, took part in the noisy protest that converged on the presidential palace, the sixth Friday evening march in a row.

“No more corruption, JOH out,” protesters called, chanting the president’s initials into the gathering darkness.

A coalition of opposition political groups is demanding an independent probe into a $200-million corruption scandal at the Honduran Institute of Social Security, where companies, some formed by institute officials, overcharged for services.

The opposition groups want an independent prosecutor staffed by foreigners, similar to a United Nations-backed commission that has led corruption probes in neighboring Guatemala.

Hernandez has admitted his 2013 presidential campaign took some $150,000 from firms linked to the scandal, but said that he and his party did not know where the money was from.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Michael Perry

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