Thirteen people have been killed in a stampede at a nightclub in Peru’s capital, Lima, after a police raid to enforce the country’s coronavirus lockdown measures.
At least 6 others were injured, including 3 police officers, as about 120 people tried to escape the Thomas Restobar Club on Saturday night shortly after police arrived to break up a party on its second floor.
Neighbours had alerted police about the event at the club in Lima’s Los Olivos.
An interior Ministry statement said the partygoers, fleeing all at once, tried to squeeze through the only entrance door and became trapped between the door and a staircase leading to the street.
The Ministry said the police operation, did not use any type of weapon or tear gas, but those attending the party tried to escape through the single exit, trampling each other and getting trapped in the stairway.
Police arrested at least 23 people at the scene.
However, some who were at the party and others living near the nightclub disputed the Ministry’s version of events, according to reports.
One resident said it appeared that police entered and threw tear gas canisters at them, and boxed them in.
Nightclubs have been banned from operating in the country since March because of the pandemic.
Women’s Minister Rosario Sasieta said she was outraged, aiming her anger at the club’s owner.
She said this should never have happened as the country is in a pandemic, a health emergency.
The Minister called for the maximum punishment possible for the nightclub owners.