- Over 320 injured in stampede
- Indonesian football association suspends league to investigate
- Police say 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 people dead and more than 320 injured after police tried to quell the violence on the ground, authorities said on Sunday. in one of the worst in the world. stadium disasters.
Officers fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the agitated supporters of the losing local team who had invaded the pitch after the final whistle in Malang, East Java on Saturday night, the leader told reporters. of the local police, Nico Afinta.
“It had become lawless. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” Nico said, adding that the crash happened when fans ran for an exit door.
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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 was later lowered to 125.
The previous figure may have included duplicate deaths, he said.
An East Java police spokesman said 323 people were injured, down from 180 initially.
The stadium disaster appeared to be the world’s worst in decades.
Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch after Arema FC’s 3-2 loss to Persebaya Surabaya around 10 p.m. (1500 GMT), followed by scuffles, and what appeared to be clouds of tear gas and unconscious fans blown away. the place.
Many victims at nearby Kanjuruhan Hospital suffered trauma, shortness of breath and lack of oxygen due to the large number of people at the scene hit by tear gas, paramedic Boby Prabowo said.
The head of another area hospital told Metro TV that some of the victims had suffered brain damage and that among the fatalities was a 5-year-old child.
President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly assess security at matches, adding he hoped it would be “the last football tragedy in the country”.
Jokowi, as the president is known, has ordered the Football Association of Indonesia, PSSI, to suspend all top league BRI Liga 1 matches until an investigation is completed.
Tear Gas Rules
World football’s governing body, FIFA, specifies in its safety rules 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 these regulations.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement to Reuters that the footballing world was “in a state of shock following the tragic incidents that took place in Indonesia” and that the event was “a dark day for all the people involved”.
FIFA requested a report on the incident from the 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 ground, 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 22-year-old Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono, crying as he treated a broken arm at the local Kanjuruhan hospital. “A lot of lives have been ruined.”
On Sunday, mourners gathered outside the stadium gates to lay flowers for the victims.
Amnesty International Indonesia blasted the security measures, saying “the use of excessive force by the state…to contain or control such crowds can absolutely not be justified.”
The country’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, said in an Instagram post that the stadium had been filled beyond capacity. Some 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium designed to hold 38,000 people, he said.
INDONESIAN FOOTBALL SCENE
Financial assistance will be given to the injured and the families of the victims, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa told reporters.
There have already been outbreaks of unrest at matches in Indonesia, with strong club rivalries sometimes leading to violence between fans.
Crowds fill stadiums, but the football scene in Indonesia, a country of 275 million, has been blighted by hooliganism, brutal policing and mismanagement.
Zainudin Amali, Indonesia’s sports minister, told KompasTV that the ministry will reassess security at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.
Periodic stadium disasters have horrified fans around the world. In 1964, 328 people were killed in a crash when Peru hosted Argentina at the Estadio Nacional.
In a UK disaster in 1989, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death when an overcrowded, fenced-off enclosure collapsed at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Indonesia is set to host the FIFA Under-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 Euros, after China pulled out as hosts.
Asian Football Confederation chief Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement that he was “deeply shocked and saddened to hear such tragic news from football-loving Indonesia”, expressing his 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 Writing by Kate Lamb Editing by Ed Davies, William Mallard, Kim Coghill and Frances Kerry
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