A police operation at a funk party early Sunday morning ended with nine people trampled to death and seven others injured in the Paraisópolis favela in São Paulo.
The tragedy happened at an event with more than 5,000 people. Images and reports show that police cornered the crowd in narrow alleys — some stumbled and ended up dead. Young people said the operation was an "ambush".
The military police said it does not yet know if the operation followed protocol, and that some images released suggest abuse, and it will investigate everything.
The police maintains, however, that the confusion began after police chased suspects on a motorcycle and with whom they exchanged fire. Injured youth and relatives of victims counter. According to them, there was no persecution of suspects.
Anderson Figueiredo, 34, owner of a bar at the funk dance stream, said police arrived by throwing gas bombs and rubber bullets.
According to him, agents surrounded both sides of the streets and shot and beat anyone who approached. The crowd would then only be able to disperse through its less than two-meter-wide alleys, laden with stairs, causing many to stumble.
A video shows a mob surrounded and battered in one of the alleys. "I put several people inside my bar, but there was no room for an hour," Figueiredo said.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon