This past Saturday July 2, Salvadoran police (PCN) arrested 35 individuals in the local office of PROCOMES office. PROCOMES, the Center for Training for Local Development and Economic Solidarity, is a civil society organization that works with at-risk youth. This organization has had a presence in El Salvador for over 20 years in nine of its fourteen departments.
According to reports, on Saturday July 2, a total of 270 PCN and army troops raided this office and arrested 35 employees. Margarita Posada of PROCEOMES recalls that, “they entered the office without a search warrant after having cut the PROCOMES office fence and arrested the guard, whom they first told they were pursuing a criminal; later, they stated that they were looking for weapons in the office and proceeded to arrest these individuals, this is an abuse that takes us back to the 70s”.
Members of the Communal Center of El Salvador (CODESA), a group of civil society organizations, have expressed their concern with this most recent display of the PCN abusing their power. As Posada explains, almost two decades after the peace accords were signed, El Salvador is still struggling with justice and respect for human rights.
This group of civil organizations is not whole-heartedly opposed to the police, clarified Mario Chavez, they are merely opposed to the police overstepping their boundaries and creating a repressive environment. The Salvadoran government has taken steps in the past to fight police corruption, however, the reality of police abuse and disregard for human rights is still a reality in the country.