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Police storm prison during riot; 111 die

In the worst prison violence in Brazil's history, military police repression of a Sao Paulo jail riot left 111 prisoners dead, security officials said Sunday.

The violence on Friday at Sao Paulo's House of Detention, Latin America's largest jail, left 22 police officers and 35 inmates wounded, the officials said.

"It was a massacre," said Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, director of Sao Paulo University's Center for the Study of Violence Pinheiro estimated that about 150 people had died.

Pinheiro, who is the representative of the human rights group Americans Watch, charged that police committed most of the killings.

But Pedro Franco de Campos, Sao Paulo's secretary of public safety, said Sunday: "Most of the deaths were caused by the inmates themselves."

Although the director of the House of Detention said the pavilion involved was "perfectly calm" Sunday, he refused to allow visits by families. "Killers, killers," shouted distraught family members held back by police dogs.