Tear gas explosion at Caracas club kills 17 people - minister

Nightclub brawl in Venezuela kills 17 students celebrating graduation

At least 17 people died at a nightclub in the Venezuelan capital Caracas after a tear gas device exploded during a fight on Saturday morning.

A building housing the Los Cotorros club where several people died when a person activated a tear gas grenade inside, according to Venezuela's interior minister Nestor Reverol, is seen in a neighbourhood in Caracas, Venezuela June 16, 2018.

The stampede took place at the Club Los Cotorros in the El Paraíso district in western Caracas, local media reported.

He also said authorities should investigate whether the club had permission to have that many people inside.

Speaking to Venezuela's state-run TV, Reverol said a brawl broke out early Saturday, and "one of the people involved detonated a tear-gas canister that caused the stampede". They also arrested the club owner over failure to have measures to ensure no weapons or ammunition entered the club, as required by law. "We send our condolences to the families", Reverol said. The opposition councilman said that other incidents had happened there in the past. No information on the owner's name, exact charges or current whereabouts was immediately provided.

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

Most of the victims, eight of whom were under 18, were celebrating their high school graduations at the private Social Club El Paraiso in Caracas.

Homicide rates in Venezuela have risen due to the country's political and economic troubles.

Relatives of the boy found him among the dead and said he was killed by asphyxia.

"I am asking for justice", she said.

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