Fans waiting to see Franz Ferdinand at Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Independence Park yesterday during the Cultura Inglesa Festival were pepper sprayed and tear-gassed by police, the Brazilian paper Folha reports.
While the park had yet to reach its 20,000 person capacity, event organizers said in a statement that the gates were closed in order to reorganize entry. Though some fans left or found a spot on a nearby street where they could see the stage, others attempted to climb the fence to gain entry, prompting police to use pepper spray in order to disperse the crowd.
Thamys Porto, a student who was reportedly hit with pepper spray, told Folha that police had formed a human barricade against the crowd that was pushing to get in. When that failed, they started using gas, she said.
In their statement, organizers said that after the line was reorganized, the doors were re-opened. However, they apologized to fans who did not get to see the performance and promised to make sure that all fans will have an equal opportunity to see performances in future festivals.
As NME points out, Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos wrote on Twitter, “Hope any fans caught outside the gig tonight were OK and weren’t hurt in this collision with the police I’m hearing about.”
In a response to tweets from fans about the pepper spraying, Kapranos also wrote, “Shit. That’s terrible. I wish there was something I could do,” and “We knew nothing of this. Awful news.”