Authorities entered the Thomas Restobar Club in Lima after discovering it was violating coronavirus guidelines, with the partygoers dying right at they tried to leave, BBC reports. Another six people were injured, including three police officers; around 23 people were also detained.
Peru began enforcing a night-time curfew in March, and this month, it reinstituted restrictions on large gatherings. The country has had over 576,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 27,000 fatalities.
According to Peru’s interior minister, around 120 people went to the illegal birthday party on Saturday. After police raided the club, revelers “tried to escape through the single exit, trampling each other and getting trapped in the stairway.”
The ministry says authorities “did not use any type of weapon or tear gas.” However, one local resident disagreed, telling Radio Programas del Perú “it appears that police entered and threw tear gas canisters at them, and boxed them in.”
While Peru was one of the first Latin American countries to enforce a strict lockdown early, there has still been a surge in cases.