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Hondurans call for president to step down after drug verdict

Thousands of Hondurans have protested into the early hours of the morning to demand that President Juan Orlando Hernández be removed from office after his younger brother was convicted of drug trafficking in a New York court.

Opposition groups called for protests to continue after Juan Antonio "Tony" Hernández was convicted Friday in what U.S. prosecutors described as a conspiracy that relied on "state-sponsored drug trafficking."

Protesters blocked key roads in half of the country's 18 provinces, while some took advantage of the disturbances to loot stores. Police have not reported any arrests and urged protesters to express their concerns "peacefully without affecting the right of others."

A demonstrators bangs on a pot near burning barricades, during a protest demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The protests come after Tony Hernandez, the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy, that prosecutors of the New York federal court say was protected by the Central American country's government. (AP PhotoElmer Martinez)

President Hernández insisted via Twitter that the verdict is not against the state of Honduras, saying his government has fought drug trafficking.

Demonstrators block a street during a protest demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The protests come after Tony Hernandez, the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy, that prosecutors of the New York federal court say was protected by the Central American country's government. (AP PhotoElmer Martinez)

Demonstrators block a street during a protest demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The protests come after Tony Hernandez, the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy, that prosecutors of the New York federal court say was protected by the Central American country's government. (AP PhotoElmer Martinez)

Demonstrators set up burning barricades to block a street during a protest demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The protests come after Tony Hernandez, the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy, that prosecutors of the New York federal court say was protected by the Central American country's government. (AP PhotoElmer Martinez)

Demonstrators set up burning barricades to block a street during a protest demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The protests come after Tony Hernandez, the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy, that prosecutors of the New York federal court say was protected by the Central American country's government. (AP PhotoElmer Martinez)

Demonstrators band on pots during a protest demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The protests come after Tony Hernandez, the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was convicted in a massive drug conspiracy, that prosecutors of the New York federal court say was protected by the Central American country's government. (AP PhotoElmer Martinez)