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Thirteen people die in police raid at Peru club

Thirteen people died in a crush on Saturday night trying to escape police who raided Thomas Restobar Club in Lima for violating coronavirus restrictions, according to the government.

The intervention took place at around 9 pm, shortly before Lima’s mandatory social immobilization was due to come into effect, preventing residents from leaving their houses between 10 pm on Saturdays and 4 am on Monday mornings, in a bid to mitigate a new surge in coronavirus.

According to the government, around 120 people had attended the illegal birthday gathering on Saturday at Thomas Restobar Club. After police raided the club, the partygoers “tried to escape through the single exit, trampling each other and getting trapped in the stairway”. Eleven men and two women aged in their 20s and 30s died.

President Martín Vizcarra said 15 of 23 revellers arrested had tested positive for the coronavirus. The club’s owners, a married couple, were among those detained. Six people were injured, including three police officers.

“I have anger and indignation for those who were irresponsible by organising this. Let’s not lose more lives due to negligence “

“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 organising this,” President Vizcarra said. “Please reflect, let’s not lose more lives due to negligence.”

The statement from the government said that the National Police of Peru (PNP) acted in strict compliance with the law and followed all established protocols. It says no tear gas or firearms were used to evacuate the clubbers from Thomas Restobar Club. Some eyewitnesses say tear gas was used.

A night-time curfew has been in place in Peru since March, and a ban on large gatherings was reimposed earlier this month.

It imposed one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in Latin America to stop the spread of coronavirus – but has still seen cases rise rapidly.

The country has been among the Latin American countries hardest hit by Covid, with more than 576,000 cases of coronavirus cases and more than 27,000 fatalities recorded.


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Face masks become must-have music merch

Music and sports brands are capitalising on the growing popularity of face masks, with bands including My Chemical Romance, Korn and Megadeth, and the US’s National Basketball Association (NBA), among those to have begun producing their own cloth face coverings.

Though the WHO says face masks only need be worn by those symptomatic with Covid-19, or caring for those who are, many countries, including the US, are now recommending non-medical face coverings be worn in public. Among those responding to the demand are the NBA and its sister league, the Women’s NBA (WNBA), which announced on Friday it would donate all proceeds from its new masks to charities Feeding America (US) and Second Harvest (Canada).

“As a global community, we can all play a role in reducing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic by following the CDC [Centers for Disease Control]’s recommendation to cover our nose and mouth while in public,” explains Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programmes. “Through this new product offering, NBA and WNBA fans can adhere to these guidelines while joining in the league’s efforts to aid those who have been directly affected by Covid-19.”

In the music world, thrash metal act Megadeth are sending their fans face masks featuring the band’s Vic Rattlehead mascot, while post-hardcore band Thursday are repurposing existing merch to create masks, the sales of which will go towards making more. Nu-metallers Korn, meanwhile, created masks featuring their logo in early March, which quickly sold out. Fans can now pre-order a new batch set for release on 8 May.

According to trade body Licensing International, the NBA “opened the licensing floodgates” to branded face masks

Recently reformed emo heroes My Chemical Romance will release their masks – originally created for a show in the desert that never materialised – on 29 May, donating all proceeds to the Covid-19 relief fund established by Grammys charity MusiCares.

“We are living in strange times, alienating times, scary times,” reads a statement from the band. “These masks were the brainchild of our beloved Lauren Valencia, who died before this madness, not of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the older evil that is cancer. We had these masks made to keep you dust-free in the desert, a show that never happened, never will – a protection that then seemed timeworn.

“And here we are, with these masks, as though Lauren was prescient or we were unknowingly waiting for the right time…”

Valencia, the band’s longtime manager, died last year.

According to US trade body Licensing International (LIMA), the NBA/WNBA masks – along with the launch of MaskClub.com, featuring masks with the Batman logo, Hello Kitty, Care Bears, Scooby-Doo and others – “opened the licensing floodgates” to branded face masks, with more launches expected in the near future.

LIMA’s Global Licensing Survey 2019 found music merchandise sales were worth nearly US$3.5bn worldwide last year.


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