Tens of thousands of Brazilians have staged a protest, demanding justice for the victims of the nightclub fire, triggered by a musician using a flare during an indoor light show. Authorities said 30,000 people have joined the silent march, which took place on Tuesday in Santa Maria to honor the victims who died in the fire after a singer deliberately used a cheap outdoor flare inside the overcrowded nightclub, Kiss.
“We hope that the justice system ... succeeds in clarifying to the public what happened, and gives the people an explanation,” said protester Eglon Do Canto.The two owners of Kiss and the singer, who allegedly caused the fire and one member of the band’s security personnel, have been arrested. Santa Maria police chief, Marcelo Arigony, said key evidence such as security camera footage has been hidden from investigators. Arigony went on to say that the nightclub had violated several security codes, including lack of emergency lights, faulty fire extinguishers and an overcrowded dance floor; all factors, which contributed to the large number of victims. "There were diverse irregularities," Arigony said. "Any child could have seen that this establishment should not have been open." Some 180 bodies were found in the bathrooms, which many of the victims had confused due to the fumes with emergency exits. The fire, which broke out in the early hours of January 27 at the nightclub in the town of Santa Maria, left 235 people dead and 75 others in serious condition. CAH/PKH