Bogota Prison Riot Over CCP Virus Kills Nearly 2 Dozen

By Reuters
March 23, 2020 Updated: March 23, 2020

A prison riot in Colombia’s capital Bogota late on March 21 left 23 prisoners dead and 83 injured, the justice minister said on Sunday, as detainees protested sanitary conditions amid the global outbreak of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Thirty-two injured prisoners are hospitalized, Justice Minister Margarita Cabello said in a video, while seven prison guards were also injured. Two guards are in critical condition.

The Andean country will enter a nationwide lockdown meant to stem infections from Tuesday night. So far 231 people have been confirmed infected with the disease and two have died.

“Today is a very sad and painful day,” Cabello said. “Last night there was a mass criminal escape attempt at the El Modelo prison and riots in various detention centers around the country.”

A view of smoke coming out of La Modelo prison after a riot by prisoners demanding the government to take healthcare measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia, on March 22, 2020. (Leonardo Munoz/Reuters)

Graphic cell phones videos were posted to social media late on Saturday showing what appeared to be the inside of the prisons. Some showed small fires, others injured prisoners and guards.

In one video, a man says the incarcerated have been “abandoned like dogs” amid the virus outbreak.

Reuters could not independently verify the origin or authenticity of the videos.

No prisoners escaped during the riots, Cabello said.

“There is not any sanitary problem that would have caused this plan and these riots. There is not one infection nor any prisoner or custodial or administrative staffer who has CCP virus.”

The office of the human rights called on the government to declare a prison emergency which could allow early release for older prisoners.

“This way there could be exceptional circumstances that would facilitate releases and temporary rules for those over 60 and with sentences of up to eight years,” the office said on Twitter.

Brazil prison riot
Military police officers are seen at the main entrance of the Doctor Edgar Magalhaes Noronha (Pemano) Penitentiary during a riot in Tremembe, 155 km from Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on March 17, 2020. (Photo by Lucas Lacaz/AFP via Getty Images)

Colombia’s 132 prisons have an 81,000-inmate capacity but house more than 121,000 prisoners, according to figures from the Justice Ministry.

The second Colombian to die from CCP virus was a 70-year-old woman in the city of Cali, the health ministry said on Sunday. Her daughter arrived in Colombia from Cuba, where she had been in contact with a person from the United States who is positive for the CCP virus.

The daughter currently has a cough, the ministry said in a statement, while the victim’s 74-year-old husband is hospitalized and positive for the CCP virus.

By Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.