El Salvador Declares State of Emergency After 62 Gang Killings in a Day

El Salvador on March 27 declared a state of emergency after it recorded dozens of gang-related killings in a single day.

With 67 votes in favor, the Legislative Assembly approved El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s request to declare a state of emergency to address the rise in homicides.

The Legislative Assembly announced in a decree “an emergency regime throughout the national territory derived from serious disturbances to public order by criminal groups.”

According to the National Civil Police of El Salvador, 62 people were killed on March 26 alone, becoming the most violent 24-hour period in the Central American country since the end of the civil war in 1992.

Official figures showed that 12 people were killed in the central department of La Libertad and nine each in the capital San Salvador and western department of Ahuachapan.

The rest of the killings were distributed around the country.

The state of emergency — which will remain in place for 30 days — restricts free assembly, allows for arrests without a warrant, and allows the monitoring of communications.

The police and the military arrested several members of the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 gang over the wave of killings after the state of emergency was declared.

However, Juan Pappier from the Human Rights Watch called the decree “very worrying, especially in a country where there are no independent democratic institutions.”

Bukele said on Twitter that the decree was “all within the constitutional framework,” adding that there was “nothing to argue against.”


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