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Trouble for Nayib Bukele in El Salvador: Strong protests against bitcoin and “authoritarianism”

Thousands of Salvadorans demonstrated this Wednesday to demand President Nayib Bukele respect for the separation of powers and in rejection of the establishment of bitcoin as legal tender, just as the country commemorates the bicentennial of its independence.

The day in El Salvador, which had developed peacefully, ended with a confusing incident in which was set on fire in the Historic Center an ATM that served to operate with the electronic wallet “Chivo”, launched by the government last week, to operate with bitcoins.

Before the fire, the protesters had written the slogan “no to Chivo de Bukele”.

Showing banners with slogans such as “Respect for the Constitution”, “Against the dictatorship, resistance and popular rebellion”; “No to bitcoin”, protesters from different sectors of San Salvador closed the central Plaza Francisco Morazán.

“We go out on the street because we go in an accelerated condition of authoritarianism, in an accelerated condition of dictatorship, “Judge Esli Carrillo, 48, who was participating in a march by administrators of justice, told AFP.

The judges reject a law that Congress, dominated by Bukele’s allies, he passed on Aug. 31 to fire judges who are 60 years old or 30 years old, leaving the judiciary without a third of its magistrates.

Measures

The protesters also showed their opposition to a recent interpretation that the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice made of the Constitution, to allow for Bukele’s immediate presidential re-election.

The magistrates who ruled in favor of allowing the consecutive reappointment of the president, if he so wishes, were appointed by the ruling Congress on May 1, after dismissing the previous judges.

“The Republic is in dangerThat is why we are demanding respect for the independence of powers and we do not agree with the presidential reelection, “commented Zaira Navas, from the Cristosal Human Rights NGO.

In another of the marches that left the Cuscatlán park, in the west of the capital, they demonstrated peasants, workers, activists from different trade union and professional organizations.

“We march because we don’t want that bitcoin law because it does not favor us (…) sometimes it rises or sometimes falls, it is very volatile, “Natalia Belloso, 41, who wore a white T-shirt with the emblem” No to bitcoin “, told AFP.

“We are giving a message to the government that there are citizens who do not agree with some measures,” said the president of the Medical College of El Salvador, Milton Brizuela.

Discontent

The covid-19 pandemic forced from 2020 to suspend the acts commemorating the Central American independence from Spain, which this 2021 turned 200 years.

The traditional parades of musical bands they were displaced this Wednesday by the protest, in which the participants dressed up with country flags, shirts with messages against bitcoin and against the “dictatorship.”

“No to presidential re-election, no to bitcoin, no to militarization, no to dictatorship! “and” without judicial independence there are no guarantees for the defense of human rights, “were the messages on some of the banners carried by the protesters.

It was also possible to read: “Mom, I went to defend my country. If I don’t return, I went with her” and “Enough of abuses against the press.”

The sectors that protested have criticized President Bukele mainly from social networks for allegedly undermining the separation of state organs, attacking transparency in the management of state resources and attacking the press, among other complaints.

The rockets, the colored smoke and the music of drums put the note of color in the protest, that it had a broad female participation and that it was peaceful.

Source: AFP and EFE

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