Footage provided by El Salvador’s Presidency show inmates at the Izalco prison lining up in tight lines during a security operation during the coronavirus pandemic, northwest of San Salvador, Saturday, April 25.
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele late on Friday ordered a 24-hour lockdown of prisons containing gang members, and said their leaders would be sent into solitary confinement after a sudden spike in homicides during the day.
Bukele said the “maximum emergency” lockdown would be enforced while police investigated some 22 homicides reported on Friday.
Only a few years ago, El Salvador, which has long been plagued by powerful street gangs known as maras, had the highest homicide rate in the Americas.
El Salvador has imposed some of the strictest measures in the Americas to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Riots have broken out at prisons all over the world including in Argentina, Cameroon, and Malawi as the global health crisis exaggerates.
Inmates are protesting hygiene conditions, lack of personal protection equipment and poor cell conditions, while some protested on the roof of prisons.