Venezuela tear gas explosion, stampede kills 17

Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital

TWITTERThe dead and injured were taken to the nearby Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital

Reverol added that a tear gas device exploded on Saturday night after the fight broke out during a graduation celebration at "Los Cotorros" club, triggering the stampede. Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said the stampede began when a tear gas grenade was set off during a brawl.

Another five were injured and dozens of partygoers fell down the stairs as the main door to the club, also known as Los Cotorros, was closed.

Reverol said authorities had arrested seven people and an investigation into the incident was ongoing. At the time of the conflict one of the assailants used a grenade of tear gas that led to panic and stampede among those who came to relax. The opposition councilman said that other incidents had happened there in the past.

"The kids couldn't leave", Perdomo said. Several campaign signs for Ecuadorean politicians were hung outside the building.

Authorities have not released the name of the owner or details on the charges. "We send our condolences to the families".

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Caracas is one of the most violent capitals in the world and the country is engulfed in a deepening economic crisis that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee.

The club was packed with more than 500 people who were celebrating the end of the school year. Some parents had been hesitant to let their children attend.

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

However, he said the owner permitted weapons into the club that threatened the "integrity" of the establishment.

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