- Around 180 injured during massive stampede
- Indonesian football association suspends league to investigate
- Police said they fired tear gas to control the crowd.
MALANG, Indonesia, Oct 2 (Reuters) – A stampede at a football stadium in Indonesia has left at least 125 dead and 180 injured after police tried to quell violence on the pitch, authorities said on Sunday, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters. . .
Officers fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse agitated supporters of the losing home team who had invaded the field after the final whistle in Malang, East Java, on Saturday night, the region’s police chief told reporters. , Nico Afina.
“It had become lawless. They started attacking officers, damaging cars,” Nico said, adding that the crush occurred as fans fled toward an exit gate.
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Some local officials had put the death toll at 174, but East Java Deputy Governor Emil Dardak said the death toll had later been revised to 125.
The earlier figure may have included duplicate deaths, he said.
The stadium disaster seemed to be the the worst in the world in decades.
Video footage from local news channels showed fans transmitting to the field after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya around 10 pm (1500 GMT), followed by scuffles, and what appeared to be clouds of tear gas and unconscious fans being herded from the venue.
Many victims at the nearby Kanjuruhan hospital suffered from trauma, difficulty breathing and lack of oxygen due to the large number of people at the scene affected by tear gas, said paramedic Boby Prabowo.
The director of another hospital in the area told Metro TV that some victims suffered brain injuries and that a 5-year-old boy was among the dead.
President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly assess security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be “the nation’s latest football tragedy.”
Jokowi, as the president is known, ordered the Indonesian Football Association, PSSI, to suspend all games in the top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation is completed.
RULES OF BARRIER GASES
The governing body of world football, FIFA, specifies in its safety regulations that stewards or police should not carry or use firearms or “crowd control gas.”
East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement to Reuters that the football world was “in shock following the tragic incidents that took place in Indonesia” and that the event was “a dark day for all involved.” .
FIFA requested a report on the incident from PSSI, which sent a team to Malang to investigate, PSSI Secretary General Yunus Nusi told reporters.
Indonesia’s human rights commission also plans to investigate security on the grounds, including the use of tear gas, its commissioner told Reuters.
“Many of our friends lost their lives because of the officers who dehumanized us,” said Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono, 22, crying as he tended to a broken arm at the local Kanjuruhan hospital. “Many lives have been wasted.”
On Sunday, mourners gathered outside the stadium gates to lay flowers for the victims.
Amnesty International Indonesia criticized the security measures, saying “the use of excessive force by the state… to contain or control such crowds cannot be justified at all”.
The country’s top security minister, Mahfud MD, said in an Instagram post that the stadium had been filled beyond capacity. Some 42,000 tickets were issued for a stadium designed to hold 38,000 people, he said.
INDONESIAN FOOTBALL SCENE
Financial aid will be provided to the injured and the families of the victims, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa told reporters.
There have been bouts of match trouble in Indonesia before, with strong rivalries between clubs sometimes leading to violence between fans.
Crowds fill the stadiums, but the soccer scene in Indonesia, a country of 275 million people, has been ruined by vandalismheavy-handed policing and mismanagement.
Zainudin Amali, Indonesia’s sports minister, told KompasTV that the ministry would reassess security at soccer matches, including the possibility of not allowing spectators in stadiums.
Periodic stadium disasters have horrified fans around the world. In 1964, 328 people died in a crush when Peru received Argentina in the National Stadium.
In a 1989 British disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death when an overcrowded, fenced-in arena collapsed at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Indonesia is scheduled to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May and June next year. They are also one of three countries bidding to host next year’s Asian Cup, the continental equivalent of the European Championship, after China withdrew as host.
the boss of the Asian Football ConfederationSheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement that he was “deeply shocked and saddened to hear such tragic news coming from football-loving Indonesia,” expressing condolences to the victims, their families and friends.
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Reporting by Yuddy Cahya Budiman and Prasto Wardoyo in Malang, Stefanno Sulaiman and Stanley Widianto in Jakarta, and Tommy Lund in Gdansk Written by Kate Lamb Edited by Ed Davies, William Mallard, Kim Coghill and Frances Kerry
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