Honduran opposition angry at US backing for election decision

Protesters take to the streets against the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernandez

(CNN)Opposition parties in Honduras have attacked the failure of the US to denounce the controversial declaration of President Juan Orlando Hernández as winner of a widely disputed election.

International observers with the Organization of American States say the vote was so discredited that it was impossible to declare a valid result, and called for a re-run.
But the US State Department noted that an election court had ratified the result of the November 26 election and called on Hondurans to refrain from violent protests.
"The United States notes that Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal has declared incumbent president Juan Orlando Hernández the winner of the November 26 presidential elections," the statement reads.
    It calls on Hondurans who disagree with the decision to "raise any concerns" within five days according to Honduran electoral law, and called on people to "refrain from violence." The US statement, tweeted by the US Ambassador to Honduras, urged political parties and leaders to "stress to their supporters the need to resolve their differences peacefully."
    Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal said Hernández won the election with 42.9% of the votes, edging his main challenger, Salvador Nasralla, who was declared second with 41.24%.
    The opposition accuses Hernandez of stuffing the court with supporters who helped him change the constitution to allow him to seek a second term.
    Hundreds of angry opposition supporters protested in the streets of the capital Tegucigalpa Monday following the announcement of the court's decision.
    Police stand amid tear gas as they clash with supporters of opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.
    Manuel Zelaya Rosales, "Alianza" opposition coordinator and a former President, condemned the US State Department response, saying it "validates the crime of electoral fraud."
    "Lets hold the military and police to account for the murders and the brutal use of violence against our brave people who defend the vote for Alianza and the victory of Salvador Nasralla." It called for an immed