Neighbours of Thomas Restobar Club in the Los Olivos district called the police to disperse a birthday party allegedly in breach of COVID-19 restrictions, the Guardian reports. When the police arrived, the crowd of around 120 people rushed to leave. Six people were injured, including three police officers. 11 men and two women died from crushing or asphyxiation.
Some eyewitnesses say tear gas was used, the BBC reports, though Peru’s interior ministry denies this. Police arrested at least 23 people, including the venue’s two owners. 15 of those detained have since tested positive for COVID-19, Peru’s president, Martín Vizcarra, confirmed.
All clubs and venues have been closed since March in Peru, which has been badly hit by the pandemic. With nearly 600,000 cases, it has the second-highest infection rate in Latin America, according to John Hopkins University.
Pre-pandemic, Thomas Restobar Club hosted regular salsa, cumbia and reggaeton events popular with young Limeños.
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Photo credit: Gonzalo Córdova / GEC