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Thousands in El Salvador protest against Bukele government

People march during a protest against President Nayib Bukele in El Salvador, on October 18, 2021. (Photo by AP)

Thousands of people in El Salvador have taken to the streets in protest against the recent controversial decisions made by President Nayib Bukele’s government.

According to the local media, an estimated number of 4000 people marched through the capital San Salvador on Sunday, decrying the ouster of Supreme Court judges, and blasting Bukele for seeking a second consecutive term. They also denounced the adoption of bitcoin as a legal tender of the country.

The protesters bore signs that read, “Bitcoin is fraud,” and, “Democracy is not up for negotiation, it is defended,” along with numerous anti-authoritarian messages.

“What does El Salvador want? Get rid of the dictator!” the people chanted near the capital's main square. Some of them set fire to an effigy of the 40-year-old president.

The demonstration comes in the wake of Bukele’s joking in his twitter account calling himself the “dictator of El Salvador” in early August, when the previous wave of protests erupted against the president, which he criticized by saying they are fighting “a dictatorship that doesn’t exist.”

In his reaction to the latest protest, Bukele wrote on his twitter that “the march is a failure and they know it..... Nobody believes them here anymore.”

El Salvador has used the US dollar as legal currency for two decades, but recently it became the first country in the world to make bitcoin a national currency.

Meanwhile, the Congress, which is dominated by Bukele's New Ideas party for the first time, voted in May upon firing judges on the Supreme Court's constitutional panel and the attorney general. Their replacements were perceived as friendly to Bukele.

“We are totally losing rights because today they do not respect the laws. Here, what's done is the will of Nayib,” said Rosa Granados, a labor union member who participated in the protests, adding, “If he raises his hand, all the deputies approve it and there is no law and no legal process that is respected.”

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