In a fresh wave of violence inside Brazil's prisons, police and guards put down at least seven rebellions and tallied the results: one inmate killed, 19 hostages freed and more than 20 guards and prisoners injured, according to authorities and Brazilian media.
A least one other riot continued late Saturday, in a lockup where the inmates were holding a guard hostage.
In the riot in the city of Vitoria in Espiritu Santo state, just north of Rio de Janeiro, inmates took six hostages but had released two by Saturday. That riot started Thursday after authorities foiled an escape plan. Prison officials said the inmates were demanding the return of five transferred prisoners.
Television footage showed prisoners beating a guard, then suspending him with makeshift ropes fashioned from bed sheets over the edge of a 12m high wall.
Alcides da Silva, who leads the union of Sao Paulo state prison guards, said at least one of the rebellions was started by the First Capital Command, or PCC, the same feared gang that launched a wave of street violence and prison rebellions terrified Brazilians and killed almost 200 people across the state of Sao Paulo last month.
One inmate was killed in a settling of scores among prisoners, according to the Agencia Estado news service and the Web site of Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil's largest newspaper. The reports also said about 20 guards and inmates suffered unspecified injuries after riot police were deployed to some of the prisons.
Sao Paulo's state government issued a statement saying that the rebellions were over and that 19 people taken hostage had been freed, but the statement addressed only three of the uprisings and did not provide more details. Meanwhile, there were reports of two new riots in Espiritu Santo state. Prison officials did not immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment.
The riots came just over a month after jailed leaders of the PCC allegedly launched a wave of attacks on police in Sao Paulo, enraged by a move on May 11 to transfer gang leaders to more secure prisons. The gang allegedly ordered attacks the next day that left 41 officers and prison guards dead.
Police struck back, killing 123 people, many described as gang members, though human rights advocates said they suspected police death squads shot innocents as well. Twenty-three inmates also died in the prison rebellions.
The gangs, originally formed to pressure for improved prison conditions, quickly began using their power inside prisons to direct drug and arms trafficking, bank holdups, kidnappings, extortion and killings on the outside.
A gang leader told Brazilian lawmakers this month that the PCC exerts influence over 95 percent of the 140,000 inmates in Sao Paulo state.
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