At least 13 people were killed and six others injured following a botched police raid at a nightclub in Peru’s capital Lima, authorities said.
In a statement on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said that about 120 people had gathered for a party inside the Thomas Restobar in the Los Olivos district on Saturday, despite the current ban on social gatherings due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.
Around 9 p.m., “personnel from the National Police’s Green Squad were alerted by the neighbours” to the illegal gathering and went to investigate, it said.
“Faced with the police raid, which did not use any type of weapon or tear gas, those attending the party tried to escape through the only exit door, getting trampled and trapped between the door and a staircase in the premises,” the Ministry said.
Three of those injured were police officers “who were trying to free and help the trapped people”.
Officials have arrested 23 people, and are looking to identify the owners of the club and the party organizers.
Of the 23 people arrested, 15 tested positive to a rapid Covid-19 test, confirmed President Martin Vizcarra.
“I am sorry and sad for the people and the families of the people who lost their lives,” he said, adding that he felt “anger and scorn” toward those responsible because “they are risking the lives of people” for profit.
The President also called for “a rigorous investigation, and a fine for the owners and organizers of such events that will serve as an example”.
Gatherings are temporarily banned in Peru in an effort to contain the virus from spreading.
So far, Peru has reported a total 585,236 coronavirus cases and 27,453 deaths.