Fire burns US Embassy entrance in Honduras amid privatization protests
The main entrance of the US Embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa was left charred Friday after demonstrators set fire to tires and objects in front of the building. The fire was extinguished by mid-afternoon, and a State Department spokesperson later said no embassy personnel were injured in the incident.
The fire came amid days of protests by education and medical professionals, who are urging the government not to privatize their sectors. The US Embassy had previously instructed the families of US government employees to remain home during the protests.
It was not immediately clear whether the embassy was the intended target of the demonstrators.
A senior State Department official told CNN the incident did not appear to be serious and that staffers were seeking more information from the scene.
The State Department spokesperson for Western Hemisphere Affairs later called the fire an “unacceptable” act of “violence,” and said the embassy was working “closely” with Honduran authorities.
The protests coincide with another drama involving the Honduran government: Two days ago, the Southern District of New York revealed that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and others been under investigation for “large-scale drug-trafficking and money laundering activities” involving cocaine.
The Honduran government Friday confirmed the investigation but denied the allegations, saying no evidence had been found.
CNN’s Elvin Sandoval reported from Tegucigalpa and Amir Vera wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali, Elizabeth Plaza, Michelle Kosinski and Taylor Barnes contributed to this report.