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Thousands Attend Funeral of Slain Honduran Indian Activist

  • VOA News

Friends and supporters gather next to the coffin of slain environmental rights activist Berta Caceres as they attend a Mass outside the Virgen de Lourdes church in the town of La Esperanza, outside Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 5, 2016.

Friends and supporters gather next to the coffin of slain environmental rights activist Berta Caceres as they attend a Mass outside the Virgen de Lourdes church in the town of La Esperanza, outside Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 5, 2016.

Thousands of mourners turned out for the funeral Saturday for slain Honduran indigenous leader Berta Caceres, who fought to stop a potentially destructive dam.

Her supporters chanted "Berta lives!" and called for justice as her coffin was carried from her mother's home to the church in the town of La Esperanza, northwest of Tegucigalpa.

Honduran environmentalist Berta Caceres speaks in San Francisco during the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize award ceremony, April 20, 2015.

Honduran environmentalist Berta Caceres speaks in San Francisco during the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize award ceremony, April 20, 2015.

Caceres, a Lenca Indian activist who won the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, was killed by gunmen in her home Thursday in what appeared to be a targeted killing. At least one person was reported to have been arrested, but no other information about the attack was released.

The Honduran government had assigned her special protection because she had received numerous death threats, but Caceres had complained that security surrounding her home was lax.

Caceres fought against construction of the Agua Zarca Dam on the Gualcarque River, a waterway the Lenca considered to be sacred.

Dam opponents argued that it would destroy the lives of hundreds of Lenca by cutting off the access to the river. The project has been put on hold.

Women demanding justice for the slaying of Honduran Indian leader Berta Caceres play drums during a demonstration at the entrance of the Honduran Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, March 4, 2016.

Women demanding justice for the slaying of Honduran Indian leader Berta Caceres play drums during a demonstration at the entrance of the Honduran Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, March 4, 2016.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has ordered security forces to find those behind the killing.

The U.S. State Department condemned the shooting, calling on Honduras to carry out a transparent investigation. It offered to help bring the killers to justice.

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