El Salvadorans take to the streets in thousands against President Nayib Bukele


El Salvador
While grievances against Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele were varied, the united message was one against authoritarianism. (Salvador Melendez/ AP/ Picture Alliance)

On Sunday, thousands of people flocked to the streets in San Salvador, El Salvador's capital, to oppose President Nayib Bukele's regime.

While Bukele was the center of attention, the protesters' grievances varied from his attempt to replace Supreme Court justices with judges more to his favor to El Salvador's decision to make bitcoin legal tender.

"Bitcoin is fraud," "Democracy is not up for negotiation, it is defended," and other anti-authoritarian sentiments were among the signs carried by feminist groups, human rights organizations, environmentalists, and opposition political parties who assembled in the capital.

They also set fire to a Bukele effigy near San Salvador's main square.

El Salvador has used the US dollar as its legal tender for the past two decades, but it recently became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as its official currency.

According to Bukele's administration, Bitcoin might help El Salvador's beleaguered economy by allowing the country to keep fees that are lost when remittances are transferred back to the country.

Moreover, $400 million (€345 million) in Salvadorans living abroad remittances make up 22% of El Salvador's GDP.

The centralization of power of 'Emperor' Bukele was condemned.

Bukele declared himself "emperor" in his Twitter bio last month amid growing concerns over his efforts to consolidate power. He called Sunday's protests a failure on the social networking site.

For the first time in history, Bukele's New Ideas party has a majority in Congress. They voted in May to fire the attorney general and judges on the Supreme Court's constitutional panel. Bukele was thought to be friendly by its successors.

The Supreme Court then granted Bukele a second conservative term. The maneuvers drew harsh criticism from the United States and other international human rights organizations.

What are the demonstrators' thoughts on Bukele?

According to the AFP news agency, Ricardo Navarro, the chairman of the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology, Bukele "is already taking us down a cliff with his bad ideas that are already affecting the economy with this bitcoin."

"If he raises his hand, all the deputies approve it," Rosa Granados, a labor union member, told Reuters. "There is no law and no legal process that is respected."

Publish : 2021-10-18 10:07:00

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