State of emergency extended in El Salvador to fight gangs

An emergency situation to try to stem the violence. El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly on Wednesday again extended a month’s state of emergency to maintain President Nayib Bukele’s “war” against violent gangs, which has already led to nearly 66,000 arrests.

This extension, approved by 67 of the 84 deputies of the unicameral congress, is the twelfth since the entry into force of this exceptional regime in March 2022. The “war against gangs led by the government has allowed the Salvadoran population to feel a sense of security, as shown by the surveys,” the legislative decree states.

A wave of 87 murders attributed to gangs

According to official figures, this “war” against violent gangs has already led to 65,795 arrests, and 2,513 firearms have been seized. The state of emergency, which has drawn criticism from human rights organisations, allows arrests without warrants. It was established after a wave of 87 assassinations attributed to the “maras”, gangs that spread terror in El Salvador and neighboring countries.

At the beginning of February, the government inaugurated a gigantic penitentiary in the south-east of the country, on the outskirts of the city of Tecoluca, where 40,000 suspected members of these gangs will be detained. A contingent of 2,000 suspected gangsters was transferred earlier Wednesday to this establishment equipped with high-tech surveillance, after an initial group of 2,000 detainees at the end of February.

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