At least 15 people were killed and 15 more were hurt when a parade for street entertainers collapsed during a demonstration in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia on Saturday night. Reports indicate that around 40 people were crossing the street and cheered when they suddenly began to be propelled into the river by their own heels and other items in the street. Brazilian television identified the victims as street performers and drag queens. Mayor of Brasilia Wilson Witzel said eight people remained unaccounted for and more could be submerged underwater when the search for survivors was concluded on Sunday.
International leaders attended the parade to celebrate the bicentennial of Brazil’s Constitution, which was signed on January 12, and President Michel Temer sent a tweet expressing his condolences, tweeting: “My thoughts go out to all those who were injured. I hope that everyone will recover soon.” Brazilian first lady Marisa Leticia Machado posted her own statement, writing on Facebook: “I offer my sincerest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and to those who have been injured in this accident.” However, many in the country accused the authorities of trying to downplay the incident, with some alleging the authorities waited too long to declare a toll of dead and injured.
Reports indicate that around 400,000 people attended the parade as it took place in the middle of a piazza of the neighborhood of Marivaux. The organizers, Helicoide Brasil, quickly issued a statement on Sunday saying that they would be changing some aspects of the parade for the coming year. Mayor Witzel, however, promised Sunday that the parade would go on as planned.
Brasilia airport police said the initial investigation was still in its early stages and was still attempting to determine what caused the accident.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.
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