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Stampede at nightclub in Venezuela kills 17

18 June 2018

Seventeen people were trampled to death when a tear gas canister set off during a brawl at a packed Venezuelan nightclub triggered a stampede.

At least five other people were hurt in the incident and taken to hospital for treatment.

Outside the club, several mismatched shoes, including a sandal with a puckered red lip decoration, lay on the sidewalk.

Reverol said that Venezuela's government "deplores this unfortunate event" and offered "words of condolences to the families of the victims".

The interior ministry ordered the nightclub to be shut down and is coordinating with the public ministry to carry out the necessary investigations.

Local councillor, Jesus Armas, said the interior ministry should explain how a civilian was able to get hold of tear gas canisters which only security forces should have.

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Seven people have been arrested and authorities are investigating. Efe reports that five people were also injured and that one is now in critical condition.

Authorities said non-governmental groups inflate figures to create paranoia and tarnish President Nicolás Maduro's socialist government.

Among those detained are two minors identified by witnesses along with the owner of the club for failing to implement measures to prevent weapons being brought into the premises. Another one of his sons had been hospitalised.

Julio Cesar Perdomo said his injured son told him the tear gas was launched from a bathroom and that the establishment then closed the doors.

"The kids couldn't leave", he said.

Officials did not comment on whether the exit had in fact been closed after the brawl broke out.

Stampede at nightclub in Venezuela kills 17