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.