MULANG, Indonesia (AP) – Fear and a stampede to leave after police fired tear gas at an Indonesian soccer match to anger fans over their team’s loss left at least 125 dead. Shul, many of whom were trampled or suffocated, which caused it. The deadliest sporting events in the world.
Attention immediately focused on the police’s use of tear gas, and witnesses said police hit them with batons and shields before firing directly into the crowd.
The FIFA president called the killing at the stadium “a dark day for all the players involved and a tragedy beyond comprehension”, while President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation into security procedures. While FIFA has no control over domestic matches, it has advised against the use of tear gas in football stadiums.
The violence erupted after the match between East Java’s Malang City host Arima FC defeated Surabaya Prasabaya 3-2 on Saturday evening.
Frustrated by their team’s loss, thousands of Arima supporters, known as “Arimania”, reacted by throwing bottles and other objects at the players and football officials. Witnesses said fans flooded the Kanjurohan Stadium pitch and demanded Arima’s management explain why, after 23 years of unbeaten home games against Persabaya, it ended in defeat.
Violence spread outside the stadium where at least five police cars were vandalized and set on fire. Riot police responded by firing tear gas including into the stadium stands, causing panic among the crowd.
Spectator Ahmed Fatuni says that the police started beating the fans with sticks and shields and fought back.
“The authorities fired tear gas directly at the spectators in the stands and forced us to run towards the exit,” he said. “Many of the victims were crushed and trampled due to suffocation and difficulty seeing due to the tear gas.”
He said he climbed to the roof of the stand and only came down when the situation calmed down.
Others suffocated and were trampled as hundreds of people ran for the exits to avoid the tear gas. In this chaos, 34 people died in the stadium, including two officers, and according to some reports, children are also among the dead.
East Java police chief Niko Afenta said in a press conference on Sunday morning: “We have already taken preventive measures before firing tear gas because (the protesters) started attacking the police, creating chaos. And burned the cars.”
Afanta said that more than 300 were taken to hospitals, but most of them died on the way and during treatment.
The death toll has been revised from 125 to 174, National Police Chief Listio Sigit Prabowo said, after officials discovered some victims had been counted twice. More than 100 are being treated seriously in eight hospitals, of which 11 are in critical condition.
“The stadium turned into a smoke-filled battlefield when the police fired tear gas,” said Rizki, who had come to watch the match with his cousin.
“I felt heat and spots in my eyes, I couldn’t see clearly while I was dizzy and everything went dark… I died,” he said. When he woke up, he was already in the emergency room. He said that his cousin died of head injuries.
He said: “We wanted to protect ourselves by watching the football game, but we faced a disaster.”
The Indonesian Football Association, known as PSSI, suspended the top soccer league, Liga 1, indefinitely in light of the tragedy and banned Arima from hosting soccer matches for the rest of the season.
Television reports showed police and rescuers pulling out the injured and carrying the dead to ambulances.
Grieving relatives are waiting for information about their loved ones at Malang Saif Anwar General Hospital. Others tried to identify the bodies placed in the coffin while medical staff affixed identification tags to the bodies of the victims.
“I am deeply saddened by this tragedy and I hope this is the last football tragedy in this country, don’t let another human tragedy like this happen in the future,” Widodo said in a televised speech. “We must continue the sport, humanity and sense of brotherhood of the Indonesian nation.”
He ordered the Minister of Youth and Sports, the National Police Commander and the Director of the PSSI to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the country’s football and its security procedures.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Zainuddin Amli, also expressed his regret that “this tragedy happened when we were preparing for the national and international football activities.”
At the Vatican, Pope Francis said he was praying for “all those who lost their lives and were injured in the clashes after the soccer match in Malang, Indonesia.”
Indonesia will host the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup from May 20 to June 11 with 24 participating teams. As the host, the country automatically qualifies for the cup.
“Unfortunately, this incident has damaged the image of our football,” Amali said.
In a statement, FIFA president Gianni Infantino expressed his condolences on behalf of the international football community, saying “the world of football is in shock.” The statement did not mention the use of tear gas.
Malang Regional Police Chief Farli Hedayat said that about 42,000 spectators came to Saturday’s game, all of them Arima supporters, because the organizers had banned Persabaya fans from entering the stadium to prevent fighting. has been.
The ban was imposed after 250 million rupiah ($18,000) was lost in clashes between supporters of two rival teams at the Blitar Stadium in East Java in February 2020. There were reports of fights outside the stadium during and after the East Java Governor’s Cup semi-final, which ended with Prasabaya beating Arima 4-2.
Human rights groups blamed the police for using tear gas at the stadium in response to the incident.
Citing FIFA’s stadium safety guidelines against the use of “joint control gas” by sideline guards or police, Amnesty International called on Indonesian authorities to use tear gas at Kanjurohan Stadium. Conduct a prompt, thorough and independent investigation of usage.
“Those who are prosecuted in open court for violations do not receive only internal or administrative sanctions,” said Osman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia.
He said tear gas should only be used to disperse crowds when there is widespread violence and when other methods have failed. People should be warned that tear gas will be used and allowed to disperse. Hamid said: “No one should lose their life in a football game.
Despite Indonesia’s lack of international trophies in the sport, hooliganism is rife in the football-obsessed nation where racism often ends in violence, as in the 2018 death of a Parasija Jakarta supporter who beat rival club Persib Bandung. Killed by die-hard fans. In 2018.
Saturday’s game is already one of the world’s worst disasters, including the 1996 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City where more than 80 died and more than 100 were injured. In April 2001, more than 40 people were killed during a soccer match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.