Protestors March in Tegucigalpa

More than 2,000 young people marched on Saturday in Tegucigalpa asking for an end to the wave of kidnappings in Honduras and that two minors be freed who have been held captive since last week.

The march was led by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez, who said that it’s time to put an “end to violence in Honduras.”

He added that those who kidnap children are “cowards” and asked them to “put their hands on their hearts” and “free the two students” from Tegucigalpa they have in their power, a little boy and a male teenager from two bilingual educational centers.

The demonstration was called “March of the Palms” to coincide tomorrow with Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Rodriguez, also archbishop of Tegucigalpa, said he felt very pleased to see so many young people giving themselves to Christ, and explained that the small yellow ribbon they wore on their shirts was a symbol of their protest against the kidnappings and other kinds of violence in Honduras.

The Central American country is going through a wave of violence that every day leaves an average of between 10 and 12 people slain, while so far this year there have been 31 kidnappings, according to government officials.

In 2008 there were 80 kidnappings, some of which were resolved through police intervention while in other cases the families paid the required ransom. A few hostages were murdered.

This year two of those kidnapped have been found dead.

In one case, family members had already paid the ransom but the kidnap victim was found slain in the northern part of the country.

The government headed by Manuel Zelaya approved on March 30 a series of measures to halt the wave of kidnappings and organized crime, which included the recording of all conversations and messages through mobile-phone companies.

The wiretapping of telephone calls is rejected by various sectors including human-rights organizations, which believe the government is practicing espionage and making Honduras into a police state.

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