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Honduras extends state of emergency, expands it to 123 municipalities

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2023. 10:55 am CST.

Photo Credit: La Prensa

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Honduras extended a state of emergency for the second time and expanded it to 123 cities in an attempt to crack down on gangs that have been demanding extortion from citizens, particularly businesses and public transport.

The state of emergency was instituted on December 6 and extended in January as a measure to control the gangs that have proliferated in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the biggest cities in the Central American country. On Tuesday, the government not only extended the state of emergency for a second time but also expanded it to 123 cities of its 298 municipalities to control criminal groups that have migrated to other municipalities to evade the measures taken by the police and the state in the two biggest cities.

Honduran newspaper La Prensa said the partial state of emergency has been extended for 45 days until 6:00 pm on April 6. Up to Monday, the state of emergency had been applied to 75 municipalities. Forty-eight were added in this latest extension.

Initially, Honduran President Xiomara Castro had mobilized thousands of police officers to areas controlled by criminal groups in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula as her government approved the measure to apply pressure on the gangs that have been demanding an extortion tax, that well-known gangs such as the MS-13 and Barrio 18 call a “war tax” on residents, businesses, and transportation including buses, trucks, and taxis.

The government has been facing increasing calls from business and transportation organizations and non-governmental organizations to take measures to control the gangs.

According to Reuters, Honduran police chief Gustavo Sánchez said at a press conference that between December 6 and February 20, there were 356 fewer homicides than in the same period the year before.

 

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