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Gunshots put Rio party on half-hour hold

Published:Monday | April 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small

Heineken Rio provided a 'las' lap' on Road March Sunday for revellers of various carnival bands, particularly Xodus and Bacchanal. Gates opened at midday, and were scheduled to close at midnight; but eight hours into, the gates were closed earlier than originally planned.

Police on the scene confirmed with The Gleaner that shots were indeed fired, but it was not the police who discharged the weapon. According to the police, a patron caught in a mini-stampede while trying to enter the event was being trampled. To dispel the crowd, another patron fired warning shots.

This happened after revellers filled the lawn of the former Heineken Keg on Waterloo Road in the late afternoon.

Other persons had entered earlier in the day to utilise the elevated platforms which provided a clear view of marchers gong by on the road.

The event carried on for most of the day in the spirit of the season, with soca, calypso and sometimes dancehall music booming through the speakers, permeating the all-day fÍte.


Party silenced


However, at 8 p.m. it was silenced. For a puzzling half-hour, revelling came to a halt, and rumours rippled through the crowd about gunshots being fired at the entrance to the event. Some patrons attempted to leave but the majority remained, patiently waiting for an announcement from the stage, seemingly unaffected by the rumours and the cause of the disruption.

For that half-hour patrons were barred from entering or exiting the event, as police investigated the disturbance. A few minutes before 8:30 p.m., the speakers boomed back on, this time blaring hit songs from dancehall's current local crowd-pleaser Alkaline. In the spirit of the season, the crowd was rallied into motion again, but with gun-finger salutes instead of pelvic gyrations as they had reacted to the earlier soca selections.