The government of El Salvador has extended the nationwide state of emergency until at least May 16. The state of emergency enables authorities to suspend some civil liberties, such as prohibiting certain gatherings and carrying out arrests without warrants. Under these measures, legal defendants have their rights to defense limited and may be held in preventive detention for up to 15 days. Furthermore, authorities are legally permitted to intercept correspondence and telecommunications. Enhanced security measures are in place in prisons nationwide. Most business operations, religious gatherings, sports events, and academic activities may continue as usual unless authorities state otherwise.
Authorities may carry out enhanced security measures in major cities nationwide, including sealing off sections of cities using soldiers and executing enhanced searches for alleged criminals. Individuals entering or leaving these sections may also be searched.
Increased security measures are likely in urban centers nationwide, particularly in lower-income neighborhoods where violent crime is a concern. Business and transport disruptions are likely as security forces conduct searches of cargo and vehicles.
Authorities had initially declared a 30-day nationwide state of emergency in El Salvador in March 2022 to combat a wave of gang-related murders. The measure has been extended multiple times. Since the beginning of the state of emergency, authorities have made more than 67,000 arrests of what officials say were suspected gang members. Human rights groups have claimed that some of these have included arbitrary arrests of individuals not working with gangs.
Heed the instructions of security personnel. Plan accordingly for possible travel and freight shipping delays due to checkpoints and tighter security inspections. Comply with the directives of authorities. Monitor local news sources for more information on localized security measures.