As an inmate trained a gun on him from behind, the director of a maximum-security prison climbed atop a prison wall Sunday to appeal to the government to meet the demands of his inmate captors.
“Brazil doesn’t need another Carandiru!” Nicola Limongi cried out, referring to a 1992 prison uprising in metropolitan Sao Paulo in which state troopers killed 111 inmates.
Police sounded sirens to drown out the shouts of the director, who stood on a perimeter wall at his AgroIndustrial Penitentiary between a line of police sharpshooters and armed inmates. Police said they had heard enough of the demands of the inmates, who hold 23 officials and reporters seized on a prison tour four days earlier.
Negotiations reached a standstill Sunday after a government-selected negotiating team ended two days of talks with rebellion ringleader Leonardo Pareja, a kidnapper and robber.
The government agreed Saturday evening to provide guns, ammunition, $20,000, and five getaway cars to 20 to 30 inmates in exchange for 18 of the hostages. The inmates would leave the prison with five remaining hostages, one in each car.
But close to midnight Saturday, when the exchange was planned, Pareja told police that the inmates wanted faster cars and bigger guns than the government was offering.
“They want to be sure they’ll have faster cars than the police once they get out,” state police captain Capt. Jurai Alves de Sousa said Sunday from the site of the prison uprising in Aparecida de Goiania, a small town about 580 miles northwest of Rio.
The inmates now refuse to resume talks until Tuesday, said lawyer Elias Forte, spokesman for the government negotiating team.
Prisoners seized 40 hostages on Thursday, including municipal authorities, judges, police officers and a television crew. The group had been investigating crowding at the prison, which was holding more than twice its intended capacity of 450 inmates.
The convicts released 17 hostages in exchange for water and rations.