Tragedy struck in Lima, Peru establishment Thomas Restobar Club after a Saturday, August 22nd police raid brought on by violation of COVID-19 restrictions. An ensuing stampede resulted in the injury of six, with 13 others dying of crushing or asphyxiation.
The Guardian reports that police answered a call from neighbors to disperse a birthday party hosted on the club’s second floor, leading around 120 attendees to flee the premises through a single exit. 11 of of the fatalities were men and two were women. Police detained 23 in attendance, including the married couple who own the club.
“In these circumstances when people begin to fight to get out, it’s tumultuous, everyone goes against each other,” Orlando Velasco of the national police told Peruvian radio station RPP, reported The Guardian.
The ministry denied using any kind of less-than-lethal crowd control measures during the raid, contrary to at least one eyewitness account of tear gas being deployed, according to BBC.
Peru is experiencing the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in South America per the World Health Organization, who report that the country has over 585,000 confirmed cases with over 27,000 resulting deaths. President Martín Vizcarra has said that 15 of the 23 arrested at Thomas Restobar Club had tested positive for COVID-19.
“I have sorrow and I have sadness for the people and relatives of the people who have died, but I also have anger and indignation for those who were irresponsible by organizing this,” he said. “Please reflect, let’s not lose more lives due to negligence.”
Image credit: Pim Myten