Bukele tweets declaration of state of emergency in prison system

After two soldiers were attacked and killed last weekend, presumably by gang members, Nayib Bukele issued a tweet ordering his prison chief to put the entire Salvadoran prison system in lockdown, with prisoners confined to their cells at all times and outside visits eliminated.

Director @OsirisLunasMeza decree a maximum emergency in all of
the prisons, everyone totally locked down, not a ray of sun
for anybody, 0 visits, 0 activities, 0 stores,
All in their cells, held incommunicado 24/7, until further order.

Six minutes later, chief of prisons Osiris Luna tweeted back:

I will comply with your order immediatley, president Bukele. 
From this instant they will be on total lockdown. 
Maximum emergency in all the prisons.

On Friday, March 6, family members of inmates in the prison system marched outside of the president's offices to protest the state of emergency.   They carried signs with a basic message "not every prisoner is a gang member" and challenging the justice of such collective punishment.

Legal experts have pointed out, however, that a state of emergency cannot be started by executive order, only by a measure approved by the judges charged with overseeing prisons.   By Friday afternoon, those judges were rejecting Bukele's approach of collectively punishing inmates system-wide for the attacks on the soldiers. (There was some indication that the government is claiming to the judges that the lockdown was needed because they had intercepted gang plans to destabilize the prison system, but that would be a re-write of Bukele's original tweet).

Bukele responded by denigrating the judges as "protectors of criminals," a label he also hurled at El Salvador's Human Rights Advocate (PDDH) who raised similar concerns about the legality of the lockdown.

This episode is another example of Bukele's populist authoritarian streak, exercised by tweet, where niceties of law or human rights are disregarded.  Anyone who would suggest that Bukele has overstepped is labelled as an ally of the gangs.   There is no respect for the role of other branches of the government.  The point of the tweet was not so much whether a state of emergency would be effective or legal, but that the president should appear to wield all the power over good and evil in the country.