Two NGOs document arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment of detainees over the last nine months, during which President Nayib Bukele's government has rounded up over 59,000 suspected gang members.
Authorities had already removed gang graffiti in neighbourhoods throughout the Central American country, but breaking up gang members' tombstones is a new step and comes as some residents visited cemeteries for Day of the Dead.
The wave of detentions is unprecedented in the country of 6.5 million people, which has suffered decades of violent crime driven by powerful gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18.
Almost 69 percent of detainees are accused of belonging to the notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang, officials say. Rights groups have denounced arbitrary arrest of many people, including minors, with no gang links.
Authorities in Central American country have been rounding up suspected gang members since March, following the killing of 87 people in gang-related violence.
The reform to the penal code applies to those who "reproduce and transmit messages or communications originating or allegedly originating from" the criminal groups.
Subscribe to our Youtube channel for all latest in-depth, on the ground reporting from around the world.
Copyright © 2023 TRT World.