SAO PAULO – Two prisoners were beheaded and at least another one died after being thrown off the roof in a riot that erupted Sunday in a prison in southern Brazil, authorities said.
Inmates of the penitentiary in the city of Cascavel took at least two agents and several other inmates hostage in the uprising, said military police Capt. Ricardo Pinto. He said negotiations for better conditions in the prison were still under way 12 hours later.
Prisoners set some objects on fire and were using metal poles to cause damage to the 928-bed prison that housed more than 1,000 inmates at the time. Authorities initially said two men were decapitated, and later learned of a third prisoner who was also killed after he was thrown off the building. The three men were not identified.
The revolt began before sunrise when a prison guard was captured during breakfast, Pinto said.
Dozens of the prisoners climbed onto the building’s rooftop, with their faces covered with white fabric. Local media images showed at least 30 rebellious inmates shouting while they beat men held with ropes around their necks, or whose hands were tied behind them. The rioting inmates waved banners emblazoned with the initials PCC for a criminal prison gang formed in the 1990s.
Jairo Ferreira, a lawyer for the prison guards’ union, told local news site CGN that at one point the inmates put the decapitated head of one victim on the lap of a custodian who was initially held hostage and later freed.
Relatives arriving at the prison to visit inmates waited outside as night fell, trying to get information about their loved ones.
Ferreira said the prisoners rioted to demand better food and medical care in the prison.
Police Capt. Pinto said the revolt may also have been related to the recent convictions of two prisoners.