Wednesday saw another anti-bitcoin (BTC) protest in El Salvador, this time with a mass march against the country’s president taking to the capital’s streets.
Several thousand people gathered yesterday to march to San Salvador’s central plaza, protesting President Nayib Bukele himself, AP News reported. The protesters argued that Bukele has too much power concentrated in his hands, and that he has weakened the courts’ independence. These marchers are firmly against his seeking re-election in 2024.
Additionally, they are against the decision to make BTC legal tender, which many expressed by wearing ‘no to BTC’ shirts, or carrying signs that stated ‘no to dictatorship’ and ‘we were defrauded by Bitcoin’.
The protesters were further angered by the Chivo wallet’s ongoing issues. The app’s system is overwhelmed by the number of users attempting to seize the USD 30 worth of BTC bonus issued by the government with each account.
Bukele recently admitted that launching the new system within three months was “too big of a challenge,” maintaining that the mistakes are already being fixed. He further claimed that a number of Chivo’s technical-related problems had been “95% addressed,” while remaining issues would be ironed out “in the next few days.”
Bukele also claimed just two days ago that Chivo had over a half-million users or around 8% of the country’s population.
At least one Chivo ATM was torched during this latest protest, with anti-Bukele and anti-BTC slogans written on the cubicle housing it.
“The time has come to defend democracy,” a protester, former Supreme Court justice Sidney Blanco, was quoted as saying. “This march is symbolic, it represents weariness with so many violations of the Constitution.”
Per opposition lawmaker Claudia Ortiz, “Bitcoin was a very big economic decision, and it was done totally illogically, sent to congress and passed the same day,” Bloomberg reported. “We are going through a profound fiscal crisis with high cost of living and unemployment and the government’s response, instead of serious economic policy, is to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender,” she said, adding that it’s unclear who was behind the vandalism.
Bukele claims that there’s no doubt it were the protestors, not “infiltrators.”
Per the recent public opinion surveys in El Salvador, a majority of Salvadorans opposed making BTC an official currency.
Yet, BBC reported that a recent newspaper poll showed 85.7% of people approved of the president.
El Salvador made BTC legal tender on September 7, while the government has proposed more than 200 changes to the constitution, including eliminating a ban on presidential re-election.