At least 13 people have been killed and three others injured in a stampede at a nightclub in Lima, Peru as partygoers tried to escape a police raid on the venue, according to Orlando Velasco Mujica, general of the Peruvian National Police.
On Saturday evening, police were called to the Thomas Restobar in the Los Olivos District of Peru’s capital city to shut down an illegal party that has more than 120 party goers.
Social distancing measures are mandated in Peru, large crowd gatherings are strictly prohibited and there is a nationwide 10 p.m. curfew in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
According to a data from Johns Hopkins University, Peru was one of the first nations in the Americas to take strict preventative coronavirus measures, but is now one of the worst affected countries in Latin America, with more than 576,000 cases. More than 27,000 have died of the virus so far.
The Ministry of the Interior reported in an official statement that the police did not use “any type of weapon or tear gas to clear the premises.” When people began to flee the 2nd-floor venue trying to get away from the police they were squashed on the narrow stairs.
“The Ministry of the Interior profoundly regrets the deaths of 13 people as a consequence of the criminal irresponsibility of an unscrupulous business owner,” the statement said.
In addition, police said in a statement they have started an investigation to identify the owners of the nightclub and those responsible for the event. They said 23 people were arrested.