9 September 2010
Last updated at 17:56 ET

Gang strike paralyses El Salvador

The army has been using trucks to help people get to work Public transport in El Salvador has been severely disrupted for a third day by a strike enforced by street gangs, angry at a new law making gang membership a criminal offence.

The Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha gangs told transport operators to observe the shutdown, or face the consequences.

Thousands of troops have been deployed to protect bus drivers and commuters.

The anti-gang law was introduced in July after gang members set fire to a bus, killing 17 people.

The BBC's Eric Lemus in the capital San Salvador says most bus companies there and across the country appear to have given in to the gangs' threats.

He said about 80% of public transport was suspended, although some private drivers in pick-up trucks had been carrying passengers for much higher fares.

Many businesses also shut down for fear of reprisals after the gangs circulated leaflets telling them to close or "face the consequences".

Police and soldiers have been escorting the vehicles that have been carrying passengers, and the army has also been using trucks to help people get to work.

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