SAN SALVADOR – At least a score of people were arrested and 15 were injured in clashes between Salvadoran police and street vendors here Thursday during protests against the city’s plan to tightly regulate the peddlers, the deputy chief of the Salvadoran national police said.
Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde told reporters that the arrested people are accused of public disorder and some are also being brought up on charges of damaging property.
Starting early on Thursday, dozens of vendors blocked several capital streets as part of a protest against the removal of peddlers that San Salvador Mayor Norman Quijano ordered in recent weeks.
Groups of demonstrators with their faces covered threw stones at city hall and broke street lights, after which riot police intervened to bring those activities to a halt.
Police precinct commander Gersan Perez told Radio Nacional that what began as a day of peaceful protests devolved into chaos because of the involvement of suspected gangmembers.
“They are not vendors, they’re mobs, they’re gangs … who are causing disorder in downtown San Salvador,” he said.
A source with an independent group that provides medical assistance told Efe that their emergency crews attended to 10 people, among them five children, who had been poisoned by tear gas fired by police, while four others were transported to a hospital with head wounds.
The Red Cross also reported that a street vendor was taken to the hospital with assorted injuries.
Last Monday, a grenade was thrown at municipal police headquarters and exploded, injuring three people. EFE