School principal killed as cops break up protest in Honduras

Tegucigalpa –  The principal of a public school in this capital was killed Friday when police and soldiers forcibly broke up protests by striking Honduran teachers.

Family members confirmed that 59-year-old Ilse Velazquez died at Tegucigalpa’s Teaching Hospital.

She arrived at the hospital suffering from several serious injuries, including a blow to the head, doctors said.

Her relatives said Ilse was the sister of the late Manfredo Velazquez, one of at least 184 Honduran political activists abducted and murdered during the 1980s.

Police and some witnesses said Ilse Velazquez fell while fleeing the police and was trampled under the feet of other protesters, but according to other accounts, she was struck by a vehicle.

One other teacher and a police officer were injured in the incident, a police spokesperson said.

Soldiers and police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesting teachers gathered outside the offices of Inprema, the agency that administers their pensions.

The teachers, on strike since last week, are unhappy about a proposed government takeover of Inprema and over proposals that would place a number of school programs under the control of municipal administrations.

President Porfirio Lobo’s government refuses to negotiate with the teachers and is threatening to dock their pay for striking.

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