Many Brazilian prisoners escaped from prison in Sao Paulo yesterday after staging a revolt over a coronavirus crackdown.
The revolt ensued after the government cancelled temporary exit from prison of about 34,000 inmates of a semi-open regime, due to fears they could get infected outside and bring the virus back to the penitentiary.
It was gathered that inmates escaped in Tremembé and Mirandópolis and a rebellion was reported at a prison in Porto Feliz. 400 inmates got out of the Centro de Progressão Penitenciária (CPP) Dr Rubens Aleixo Sendin, in Mongaguá, on the coast of São Paulo.
A video shot in the city of Mongaguá on the coast of Sao Paulo state, and broadcast by TV Globo shows hundreds of men running out of a prison that has the capacity to hold about 2,800 inmates.
In the footage shared online, someone was heard in the background saying “Come back on Monday, hey!”
A statement released by the Secretariat of Penitentiary Administration (SAP) read:
“Acts of insubordination are occurring in the Centers of Penitentiary Progression of Mongaguá, Tremembé and Porto Feliz, in addition to the half-open wing of Penitentiary II of Mirandópolis, due to the suspension of temporary departure, which were due to occur tomorrow [Tuesday 17th].
“Both the Rapid Intervention Group (GIR) and the Military Police have been activated and are taking care of the situation.
“The measure was necessary because the benefit would contemplate more than 34 thousand sentenced of the semi-open regime that, returning to prison, would have high potential to install and spread the coronavirus in a vulnerable population, generating health risks to servers and custodians.”
Nine prison guards taken hostage have been released and the prisoners who had not escaped returned to their cells. Sao Paulo state’s penitentiary administration secretariat said in a statement on Monday night that 174 inmates have already been recaptured.
Brazilian media said more than 1,000 inmates could be on the loose.
Sao Paulo state is home to the First Capital Command, Brazil’s most powerful prison gang, which is expanding quickly across the country and in neighboring nations. It traffics guns, drugs and other contraband.