Dozens of people were killed during a prison riot at the Uribana prison in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
According to the Yahoo News, the government is currently evacuating the prison after several people were killed during a clash between inmates and the National Guard.
Penitentiary Service Minister Iris Varela said that the inmates were evacuated in order to “close this chapter of violence.” Varela did not give a final death toll.
Humberto Prado, an activist with the watchdog group Venezuelan Prisons Observatory, said at least 55 people were killed during the prison riot.
According to the Huffington Post, the riot started on Friday when a group of inmates attacked a group of National Guard troops during an inspection. At least one member of the National Guard was killed during the attack.
Pradio said that the inspection was necessary to make sure that the prison conditions were in line with international standards. The activist questioned, however, if the inspection had to be done with a “warlike attitude.”
“No one doubts that inspections are necessary procedures to guarantee prison conditions in line with international standards, but they can’t be carried out with the warlike attitude as (authorities) have done it,” Prado told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “It’s clear that the inspection wasn’t coordinated or put into practice as it should have been. It was evidently a disproportionate use of force.”
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles also blamed the prison system saying that the government has ignored the problem of overcrowding in its prisons. The Uribana prison, for instance, was built to hold about 850 inmates. At the time of the riot, however, there were close to 1,400 inmates at the prison.
Capriles wrote on Twitter:
“Our country’s prisons are an example of the incapacity of this government and its leaders. They never solved the problem … How many more deaths do there have to be in the prisons for the government to acknowledge its failure and make changes?”