More than a thousand students and members of youth organizations mobilized outside of the University of El Salvador on Wednesday in a protest against the Anti-Terrorism Law and to demand an increase in government spending on education, specifically for the public university. The youth marched peacefully to the Legislative Assembly where they called for the repeal of the law and for increased funding for education. They then marched to the Supreme Court to demand the court declare the legislation unconstitutional, since it defines legal means of protest as “terrorist” acts punishable with decades in prison.
Police presence during the protest was minimal, creating an image of the police as keeping order and looking out for the well-being of even the protesters. However, after the activity finished, police followed leaders of the youth organizations and coordinators of this protest to the surrounding municipalities where they live. There, the police arrested 9 of the youth including one minor. One youth leader was badly beaten before they were transferred to a police station in yet another municipality. The protesters are being charged with public disorder, carrying of weapons and resisting arrest. Those detained are still in police custody, with 2 lawyers handling the case. The youth organizations that coordinated the activity will be holding a press conference on Monday demanding the immediate release of the 9 captured. Social movement organizations are circulating electronic denouncements on the criminalization of youth protest and for the release of those arrested.