TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Men armed with assault rifles burst into a shoe factory and opened fire yesterday, killing at least 15 workers and wounding eight, Honduran authorities said.
Leonel Sauceda, national police spokesman, called the attack in the northern city of San Pedro Sula “a massacre.’’ He said the motive had not been determined.
Sauceda said police were not ruling out the possibility the attack may have been related to drug trafficking. San Pedro Sula has been a hotbed of gun battles between drug traffickers and among the country’s Mara street gangs.
Sauceda said at least four men using assault rifles were involved in the attack at the small shoe factory.
He said 23 employees were present and all were killed or wounded.
Also yesterday, thousands of supporters of Manuel Zelaya, former president, staged street protests in the capital, Tegucigalpa, to demand the ousted leader’s return, as well as a 15 percent rise in the minimum wage, currently about $290 a month.
Zelaya was removed in a June 2009 coup, and his term expired in January.
He was replaced by Porfirio Lobo, who won a fall presidential election that had been scheduled before Zelaya’s ouster.
Lobo has said Zelaya, who has been living in the Dominican Republic, is welcome to return to Honduras, but said he must face charges of fraud, usurping other institutions’ powers, and falsifying documents.