Dozens of demonstrators injured and one killed in clashes with the National Police

Peaceful Assembly

The Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Alcaldía Municipal de Santa Ana (Union of Workers of the Municipal Government of Santa Ana ,SITRAMSA) protested on 2nd October 2018 on the road that leads to Metapán to demand the re-incorporation of 97 suspended employees. The employees were suspended after they denounced alleged labour abuses in the municipality. The protest did not end there. On 12th October 2018, SIMTRAMSA's protests returned to demand that the current administration comply with the collective agreement, that establish labour benefits and conditions.  

In separate developments, hooded men claiming to be policemen protested and blocked roads near San Salvador to demand for improved working conditions on 16th October 2018. The Ministry of Security and the National Police issued a statement assuring the public that these individuals were not police officers. Despite this, press reports say that no one was arrested, even though the unauthorised use of the National Police logo is illegal. 

On 31st October 2018, the first Caravan of Salvadoran migrants crossed the border into Mexico after going through Guatemala. The group is made up of about 450 people. Mauricio Iduarte, Consul of Mexico in Guatemala informed the Salvadorans that they were going to be transferred to a facility in the state of Chiapas and as long as they comply with domestic laws, they will be received with “open arms”.

On 8th November 2018, clashes between street vendors and the National Police were reported in Santa Tecla. This happened after the vendors failed to reach an agreement with the Mayor regarding the relocation of the vendors. More than 20 people were injured by stones, bullets and sharp objects, including one person who was shot in the head and died afterwards in the hospital. Journalists Oscar Machón and Ricardo Chicas Segura were also injured in the demonstration.

Expression

The Asociación de Periodistas de El Salvador (Journalists Association of El Salvador, APES) highlighted two violations of press freedom. The first was reported at the Encuentro Nacional de la Empresa Privada (ENADE) on 8th October 2018 where two VoxBox magazine reporters were denied access to the event. In addition, on 25th October 2018, a prosecutor prohibited a journalist from taking photographs during the coverage of the scene of a homicide.

The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the International Association of Broadcasters (AIR) expressed their concern over the legislative initiative to regulate public 'shows'. The government presented the legislation on 1st October 2018, but the association's claim it  creates a system of censorship as it mandates a prior evaluation and monitoring by authorities of content. In addition, the Ibero-American Institute of Constitutional Law (IIDC) considered that "this initiative violates the constitutional regime because the draft law includes criteria for prior censorship of content."

In a separate development, the  Asociación de Periodistas de El Salvador (APES) condemned the acts of violence on 8th November 2018 in Santa Tecla, where Oscar Machón and Ricardo Segura were injured with a stone and a firearm, respectively as reported in the peaceful assembly section. The APES and the IAPA demanded the General Prosecutor an investigation to determine responsibilities and sanctions.