Some constitutional guarantees have been suspended since March 2022 in a controversial state of exception championed by President Nayib Bukele. The move has enabled state security forces to arrest more than 70,000 alleged gang members.
The crackdown is widely popular among Salvadorans and has helped reduce crime and homicide rates, attracting international events like Miss Universe, which El Salvador has reportedly invested $60 million to host.
Human rights groups, however, have alleged that the crackdown has led to arbitrary arrests, torture and the deaths of detainees.
Protesters in the capital San Salvador marched on Saturday from the city’s Monument to the Constitution to a hotel where dozens of Miss Universe delegates are staying.