In El Salvador, according to the national police, 62 murders were committed in one day on Saturday, presumably by criminal gangs. The parliament in the Central American country therefore declared a state of emergency that same day, several international news agencies reported on Sunday. In El Salvador, surveillance has been tightened: for example, the police are allowed to detain suspects without an arrest warrant and the so-called freedom of assembly has been temporarily curtailed; in practice this means that it is more difficult for citizens to come together.
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The state of emergency will last at least thirty days. The measures will “enable our government to protect the lives of Salvadorans” and “address the crime,” said parliament speaker Ernest Castro on Twitter† President Nayib Bukele stated in response to the criminal acts that he wanted to find out what exactly is going on and “who is financing this”.
Police say Saturday, with the 62 murders, was the most violent 24 hours since the end of the civil war in 1992. 1,140 murders were reported in all of 2021.
Tackling gang violence was one of President Bukele’s election promises. He has been in power in El Salvador since early 2019. In an effort to control the violence, the government has previously tightened prison policies with additional controls. Many orders would come from prison for gangs on the street. The government was criticized when it published photos of detainees sitting half-naked close together during a cell inspection.
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