El Salvador seeks to declare emergency over spike in gang killings

Soldiers stand on guard before the search operation for gang members in street markets, plazas and public transportation, on July 20, 2021. /CFP

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

Gang violence has soared in El Salvador in recent days, with police reporting that 62 people were killed on Saturday alone. Hours earlier, police and the military arrested several 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 country's National Civil Police posted on Twitter.

(With input from AFP)