Nightclub Stampede Kills 13 as Cops Arrive

About 120 people had gathered at disco illegally in Lima, Peru
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 23, 2020 8:57 AM CDT
13 Die in Stampede as Cops Raid Nightclub
A police officer talks with an employee inside a nightclub in this 2020 file photo.   (AP Photo/Jesus Merida)

Thirteen people died in a stampede at a disco in Peru after a police raid to enforce the country's lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reports. The stampede happened at the Thomas Restobar in Lima, where about 120 people had gathered for a party on Saturday night, the Interior Ministry said. People tried to escape through the only door of the second-floor disco, trampling one another and becoming trapped in the confined space, according to authorities. After the stampede, police had to force open the door. Franco Asensios, one of those who attended the party, told local radio RPP that the police raid started at 9pm and that authorities told the party-goers to let the women exit first. “People got excited and started to go down, and then they said that the people in front were suffocating,” he said.

Police have detained 23 people, reports CNN, which notes that Peru has banned large gatherings and enacted a national 10pm curfew. "The Ministry of the Interior profoundly regrets the deaths of 13 people as a consequence of the criminal irresponsibility of an unscrupulous business owner," police said in a statement. Police chief Gen. Orlando Velasco said no firearms or tear gas were used during the raid. Nightclubs have been prohibited from operating since March because of the pandemic. Peru started lifting quarantine restrictions on June 30 in an effort to get the economy moving again, and the daily reported number of virus infections has doubled to more than 9,000 in recent weeks. Peru has reported about 27,500 deaths from the coronavirus. (More Peru stories.)

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