After killings, buses stop running and thousands stranded

Traffic in the greater San Salvador area was in utter chaos today.   The chaos was created when as many as 40 bus routes, run by private operators, refused to send their buses out.   The bus stoppage was in reaction to the murders of four bus drivers in the past two days by El Salvador's gangs, and the burning of two micro-buses in the San Salvador suburb, Ciudad Delgado.  The bus operators claimed they had pulled their buses from the streets to demand the government do a better job in tackling the gang violence.   Private bus operators pay thousands of dollars each month in extortion payments to the gangs.

The streets of the capital city were choked with traffic as people who normally ride the buses sought out cars and the back of pick-ups and small trucks to get to work or school.   Everyone wanted to know what the government was going to do, but it was not clear what the government could do.   The government tweeted that it was providing school buses and other transportation to citizens stranded by the bus stoppage, but there were no new ideas about tackling the root causes.

It was not immediately certain what had happened to trigger this round of attacks on El Salvador's buses by the gangs, and the bus operators' response. It may have been a reaction to a police operation on Sunday which was pulling over buses and then rousting all the young men on the bus.   A picture I took of the operation is at the end of this post.   The bus routes most effected ran from Apopa, near where this photo was taken, into San Salvador.  


I appreciate learning more about what is going on in El Salvador. Heartbreaking and hopeless sounding.