The Parliament of El Salvador Sunday agreed to validate a State of Emergency nationwide after 62 people died Saturday in clashes between gangs, it was announced.
The measure, approved by 67 votes out of 84, proclaims a state of emergency throughout the national territory due to serious disturbances of public order by criminal groups. Four lawmakers abstained and 13 others were absent, according to local press reports.
Following Saturday's events, President Nayib Bukele requested Congress to take this type of action.
Law enforcement troops have arrested various leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, allegedly linked to the massacre, it was also reported.
The state of emergency also restricts meetings and allows for arrests to be made without a warrant, in addition to affecting other Constitutional rights and guarantees, such as freedom of assembly, inviolability of correspondence and communications.
Under the new state of things, the Bukele government may for 30 days may also deploy military and police in the streets. Th opposition has said the emergency was anti-democratic and a violation of human rights.
We will not back down in this war against gangs, we will not rest until we capture and bring to justice the criminals responsible for these acts, Bukele said.
The Salvadoran Constitution provides for the state of exception, under which some guarantees may be suspended in cases of war, invasion of territory, rebellion, sedition, catastrophe, epidemic or other general calamity or serious disturbances of public order.
Last November, El Salvador suffered another spike in homicides, which in three days claimed the lives of some 45 people. The Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs have some 70,000 members in El Salvador, more than 17,000 of them in jail.
El Salvador registered 1,140 homicides during 2021 and 1,341 in 2020.