Stampede, riot at Indonesia soccer match kill 129, league suspended

Stampede, riot at Indonesia soccer match kill 129, league suspended

Stampede, riot at Indonesia soccer match kill 129, league suspended

Written by Amani Nilar

02 Oct, 2022 | 12:12 pm

(Reuters) – At least 129 people were killed and some 180 hurt at a soccer match in Indonesia as panicked fans were trampled and crushed trying to flee a riot, authorities said on Sunday, in what appeared to be the worst stadium disaster in half a century.

When supporters of the losing home team invaded the pitch in East Java province on Saturday night to express their frustration, officers fired tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering a stampede and cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.

"It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars," Nico said, adding that the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.

Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch in the stadium in Malang after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya. Scuffles can be seen, with what appeared to be tear gas in the air.

Images showed people who appeared to have lost consciousness being carried away by other fans.

The head of one of the hospitals in the area treating patients told Metro TV that some of the victims had sustained brain injuries and that the dead included a five-year-old child.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly evaluate security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be "the last soccer tragedy in the nation."

Jokowi, as the president is known, ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation had been completed.

World soccer's governing body FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or "crowd control gas" should be carried or used by stewards or police.

East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.

Indonesia's human rights commission planned to investigate security at the ground, including the use of tear gas, its commissioner told Reuters.

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