A driver ran over a group of cyclists and wounded 16 people at about 19h on Friday in Porto Alegre, Brasil. Eight victims ended up in hospital and witnesses reported that the run over was deliberate.
Cyclists were part of a group called “Critical Mass”, which advocates the use of bicycles in city traffic and perform, on the last Friday each month, a collective ride. That day, the group gathered about 130 people – some of them children.
The ride began when riders moved down the street José do Patrocinio, in Lower Town district (central region of Porto Alegre).
According to witnesses, the driver of a black Golf, which was behind the group, began to honk and speeding asking for passage. Cyclists did not open, they said, for lack of space. The street is one way.
“You could not get him in the middle for security reasons. He stayed in the back two blocks and people were calling for calm. In the third block, he waited for the cyclists spread a bit and sped up, going over everybody,” said Marcelo Guidoux Kalil, 31, a businessman who was among cyclists.
“It became a war scenario with twisted bicycles and people bleeding on the asphalt.”
The journalist Livia Araujo, 32, another participant in the ride, reports that the driver of the Golf was knocking cyclists, speeding and then fled.
“He accelerated and was picking up everybody who was on the way. At the moment did not get it right, looked around and saw people on the ground. It seemed like a hallucination,” she said.
Police were on site, heard the witnesses, who noted the plates of the car, and began searching for the suspect.
The next day the car was found abandoned on José Manuel Fernandes street, the Partenon district, east of the capital.
UPDATE: Ricardo Neis, the driver in the Volkswagen Gold who ran over the cyclists, was already interrogated by the authorities this Monday. He says he is sorry but claims he acted in self defence.