Acarigua Police Station Riot kills 29
A Violent riot at a cell block of a police station in Acarigua, Portuguesa state killed 29 inmates on Friday.
Officials reported that there was an attempted escape of detainees and that 29 prisoners had been killed in the clashes which also left 19 police officers injured. Prisoners detonated 3 grenades during the clashes, which contributed to the injuries of the 29 Police Officers.
Prisoners inside the police station had relatives visiting at the time the riots broke out and some were used as hostages to attempt to hinder the polices attempts to subdue what some are calling a mutiny. There are questions as to how the prisoners were able to get their hands on some of the weapons .
There is some questions that have been raised by the human rights organizations in Venezuela. The Venezuelan Prisons Observatory have raised concerns about the amount of prisoners killed and “How is it that there was a confrontation between prisoners and police, but there are only dead prisoners,” said Humberto Prado of the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory.
Some pictures have appeared on social media after the incident showing prisoners gunned down inside their cells. Some of the prisoners appear to have been shot in the back in their cells and other have been shot in the head from a close distance. This could suggest that extra-judicial killings or executions took place. In some of the cells the prisoners are piled on top of each other.
The riots reportedly happened after the prisoners demanded more time for family visits. There was then a confrontation between a prisoner and a police officer which resulted in the prisoner being shot dead. This sparked a gunfight between prisoners and police officers. The riots lasted multiple hours and SEBIN eventually arrived to put down the riot.
The police station in which the riot occured holds both dangerous criminals and people accused of minor crimes. In Venezuela people are only supposed to stay in the cells for 48 hours before being released or moved to a prison, however the dire situation in Venezuela means that for years prisoners have been held in the cells at police stations for months. Last year, a prison riot in the city of Valencia in Carabobo state left 68 inmates dead, many of whom were burned alive after prisoners started a fire during the riot. This latest incident shows the failings in the Venezuelan prison system that have resulted in almost 150 prisoners dead in violent riots in the past 2 years.