19027 Honduran protesters
Hondurans demonstrate with torches against the approval of education and health bills demanding the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Tegucigalpa on April 26, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Tegucigalpa: Police fired tear gas Friday to disperse thousands of demonstrators who gathered in the Honduras capital to protest against plans to privatise health and education services.

Around 10,000 people in Tegucigalpa lit torches and chanted "JOH out", referring to President Juan Orlando Hernandez, before police moved in, according to witnesses.

The protest was called by teacher unions and the Honduran Medical Association against two decrees which critics say will lead to mass layoffs.

Union leader Luis Sosa told AFP protests were held across the country, and videos were circulating on social media of demonstrations in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Choluteca and El Paraiso.

There have been several mass protests by teachers since Hernandez came to power in 2014.

Health minister Alba Flores has dismissed the layoff fears, and says new laws will actually lead to increased employment - particularly in the health sector.