News ID: 324414
Published: 0418 GMT October 02, 2022

125 die as tear gas triggers crush at Indonesia soccer match

125 die as tear gas triggers crush at Indonesia soccer match

Panic and a chaotic run for exits after police fired tear gas at an Indonesian soccer match to drive away fans upset with their team’s loss left at least 125 dead, most of whom were trampled upon or suffocated, making it one of the deadliest sports events in the world.

Attention immediately focused on the police use of tear gas, and witnesses described police beat them with sticks and shields before shooting canisters directly into the crowds.

The president of FIFA called the deaths at the stadium “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension,” while President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation of security procedures. While FIFA has no control over domestic games, it has advised against the use of tear gas at soccer stadiums.

Violence broke out after the game ended Saturday evening with host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city losing to Persebaya of Surabaya 3-2.

Disappointed with their team’s loss, thousands of supporters of Arema, known as “Aremania,” reacted by throwing bottles and other objects at players and soccer officials. Witnesses said fans flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home matches against Persebaya, this one ended in a loss.

The violence spread outside the stadium where at least five police vehicles were toppled and set ablaze. Riot police responded by firing tear gas, including toward the stadium’s stands, causing panic among the crowd.

“The stadium turned into a smoke-filled battleground when police fired tear gas,” said Rizky, who came with his cousin to watch the game.

“I felt hot and stinging in my eyes, I couldn’t see clearly while my head was dizzy and everything went dark ... I passed out,” he said. When he woke up, he was already in the emergency room. He said his cousin died because of head injuries.

National Police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the death toll had been revised to 125 from 174, after authorities found some of the victims were counted twice. More than 100 were receiving intensive treatment in eight hospitals, 11 of them in critical condition.

In a statement, FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed condolences on behalf of the global football community, saying “the football world is in a state of shock.” The statement did not mention the use of tear gas.

Saturday’s game is already among the world’s worst crowd disasters, including the 1996 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City where over 80 died and over 100 more were injured. In April 2001, more than 40 people are crushed to death during a soccer match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

 

 

 

   
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