More than 150 people were killed Saturday night after a professional soccer match in Malang, Indonesia, when fans rushed to the field, prompting police to fire tear gas into the packed crowd, causing many to run over, according to local officials.
After Arima FC lost 3-2 to Persibaya Surabaya, dozens of fans flocked to the field at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Arima’s home.
In a press conference, Inspector General Nico Aventa, East Java Police Chief, said the disturbances prompted the police to fire tear gas, causing panic. There has been confusion over the death toll – the government-backed National Human Rights Commission said 153 people died, while Arima Football Club put the number at 182.
Both numbers will make Saturday’s match between deadly episodes in the history of football. In 1964, at least 300 People died in Peru After an unpopular decision by a referee in a football match sparked riots in the country’s national stadium.
In a televised address to the nation, President Joko Widodo said he had asked the national police chief to conduct a thorough investigation into what happened. He said he had also instructed the Minister of Youth and Sports, the National Police chief and the head of the Indonesian Football Association, to assess security at soccer matches.
“I regret this tragedy,” said Mr. Goku. “And I hope this will be the last football tragedy in the country.”
Hundreds of people ran to the exit gate to try to avoid the tear gas. Some suffocated and others were run over, killing 34 people almost instantly.
The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation said, in a statement, that “excessive use of force through the use of tear gas and improper crowd control was the cause of the high number of deaths.” She said the use of tear gas is banned by FIFA, football’s world governing body.
East Java Police Chief Mr Aventa defended the use of tear gas, saying it was deployed “due to the chaos”.
“They were about to attack the officers and damage the cars,” he said.
The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation said the problem was exacerbated by overcapacity. Mahfouz, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, said the local football commission had printed 42,000 tickets, more than the stadium’s capacity of 38,000.
He said the victims died “due to the stampede.” He said they were run over and strangled to death. “There were no victims of beatings or mistreatment of supporters,” he said.
Committee Chairman Aventa said at the press conference that the medical team carried out rescue efforts in the stadium and then evacuated others to several hospitals.
The Football League has suspended play for at least a week.
“We are concerned and very sorry for this incident,” said Ahmed Hadian Lukita, director of PT Liga Indonesia Baru, better known as LIB. “We share our condolences and hope this will be a valuable lesson for all of us.”
Violence in football has always been a problem for Indonesia. Fierce and often deadly rivalries between major teams are common. Some teams even have fan clubs with so-called leaders, who lead large groups of fans to matches all over Indonesia. Flares are often thrown into the stadium, and riot police are a regular presence at many matches. since the nineties, Dozens of fans They were killed in football-related violence.
Sui Li Wei reported from Bangkok, and Mukita Suhartono from Jakarta. Dera Munra Sjabat Contributed to reporting from Jakarta, and Damian’s Cave From Sydney, Australia.