El Salvador’s Bukele seeks emergency powers over spike in gang killings

El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele has urged lawmakers to declare a state of emergency after authorities arrested dozens of gang members over a wave of bloodshed.

FILE: President of El Salvador Nayib Bukelle attends to a press convention on 20 January 2022.

SAN SALVADOR – El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on Saturday urged lawmakers to declare a state of emergency after authorities arrested dozens of gang members over a latest wave of bloodshed.

Gang violence has soared in El Salvador in latest days, with police reporting that 62 folks have been killed on Saturday alone.

Hours earlier, police and the army arrested a number of leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang over the spate of killings.

“We will not back down in this war against gangs, we will not rest until the criminals responsible for these acts are captured and brought to justice,” the nation’s National Civil Police posted on Twitter.

In response to killings, Bukele requested the legislature, managed by his ruling get together, to fulfill to declare a state of emergency, below which sure freedoms are curtailed.

The Salvadoran structure says {that a} state of emergency could be put into place “in cases of war, invasion of territory, rebellion, sedition, catastrophe, epidemic or other general calamity, or serious disturbances of public order.”

“Since yesterday, we have had a new spike in homicides, something that we had worked so hard to reduce,” Bukele stated in a press release posted on Twitter by Congress president Ernesto Castro.

“While we fight criminals in the streets, we must try to figure out what is happening and who is financing this.”

Castro stated the nation “must let the agents and soldiers do their job and must defend them from the accusations of those who protect the gang members.”

Bukele requested the prosecutor’s workplace “to be effective with all the cases” of gang members that it processes, warning he would regulate “judges who favor criminals.”

Last November, El Salvador suffered one other spike in homicides that claimed the lives of some 45 folks in three days.

The Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio-18 gangs, amongst others, have about 70,000 members in El Salvador, in keeping with authorities, and function by homicides, extortion and drug trafficking.

The nation registered 1,140 murders in 2021 – a median of 18 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants – lower than the 1,341 registered the earlier 12 months and the bottom determine for the reason that finish of the civil struggle in 1992, in keeping with official information.

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