Thursday, 18 July, 2019

68 people dead after fire and riot erupt at Venezuelan police station

VE flag Venezuela view map Population POPULATIONLanguageSPOKEN LANGUAGE GDPGDP PER CAPITACapitalCAPITAL CITYGeo facts & figures
Patty Aguilar | 29 March, 2018, 08:52

They said they would not provide any estimates "out of respect for the families".

The blaze at the detention facility in Carabobo state is the latest in a series of deadly incidents in Venezuela's overcrowded jails.

Dozens of men and women demanding to know if their loved ones had survived clashed with police officers in riot gear.

In August 2017, a riot left 37 dead and 14 wounded in police cells in the southern state of Amazonas, while an April 2017 clash between rival gangs left 12 dead and 11 injured in the Puente Ayala prison in the eastern city of Barcelona.

"I don't know if my son is dead or alive!" "They have not given any information", Dora Blanco told local media. A policeman was shot in the leg and was in a stable condition and firefighters had extinguished the flames, he said.

Photos shared by prison watchdog A Window to Freedom show detainees in grisly conditions being taken out of the station on stretchers.

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Relatives of some of the detainees said that the prisoners were kept in squalid and unsafe conditions.

It said it was "gravely concerned by the repeated violations of individual freedoms in Venezuela where the principle of separation of powers had been severely undermined and where preparation for the upcoming elections was suffering from a grave lack of legitimacy". "What happened today in Carabobo is a sign of that". Others had to be held up with the support of friends and family as they collapsed in despair.

Nearby, National Guard troops wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying rifles across their backs walked in and out of the station.

Opposition lawmaker Juan Miguel Matheus demanded that the pro-government leader of Carabobo state inform relatives about what had happened.

Among those hit by the Swiss sanctions are Diosdado Cabello, one of the most powerful figures in the Venezuela leadership, Supreme Court president Maikel Moreno and Interior Minister Nestor Riverol.

"A serious and profound investigation has been initiated to find the causes and those responsible for these regrettable events", he said on Twitter, expressing solidarity with relatives of those who died. Inmates are frequently able to obtain weapons and drugs with the help of corrupt guards and heavily armed groups control cellblock fiefdoms.

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