More than 200 people were injured during Friday's protests in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to contest the controversial re-election of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández.
According to a release from the country's Ministry of Security, state forces suffered the bulk of injuries, with the final number of casualties totalling 17 soldiers and six civilians.
However, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other independent observers have countered the state's claims, pointing to the extreme measures used by security forces against protesters upon their approach to the Presidential Palace.
According to observers, four journalists from UNE TV were beaten, along with several others. Video and photographic evidence has also been provided which appears to show former president Manuel Zelaya, deposed in a coup in 2009, being attacked with tear gas launched by security forces.
Reports indicate that the incident occurred when Zelaya approached members of the Military Police, who threw the canister at him and then physically assaulted him, according to a report in El Heraldo. He was later led to safety by his bodyguards.
Lawmaker Jari Dixon, of the Liberty and Refoundation (Libre) party, was also injured during the protest. According to reports, Dixon was beaten by members of the security forces after he attempted to defend protesters who were being accosted.
Jari Dixon, LIBRE Congressman, injured today in protest in #Tegucigalpa. “Everyone is going to die” said a Military Police soldier to Dixon who described the attack against him, “they kicked me, threw me on the ground, & put a boot on my neck” #Honduras #HondurasEnCrisis pic.twitter.com/j4HTEOFfm5— Honduras Solidarity (@hondurassol) January 13, 2018
"We will continue, together with the people, in the streets until the right thing is done with respect at the polls," Zelaya said.
Protesters were also attacked at a nearby Marriot hotel, as well as the Council of Private Enterprise, where 27 organizations convened in support of the incumbent president.
"We are going to prevent Hernandez from taking office on January 27," said Nasralla and Zelaya.
The national strike, which is set to run from January 20 to 27, is calling on Hondurans to deny Hernandez the presidency and recognize Nasralla as president because "the elections were fraudulent."
As part of the boycott, Nasralla and his team are urging Hondurans not to use public transportation, banks or pay tolls for the week. The opposition is also calling on Hondurans to boycott several US-based restaurant chains, including Wendy's, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Denny's and Pizza Hut.