- East Java stadium disaster apparently the worst since 1964
- Around 180 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) – Up to 174 people were killed and 180 injured in a stampede at a football stadium after police tried to quell the violence on the pitch, officials said on Sunday. one of the worst stadium disasters in the world.
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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East Java Deputy Deputy Governor Emil Dardak and the local disaster management agency put the death toll at 174 on Sunday afternoon, but Emil later said that figure may include double deaths. The local health agency put the toll at 130.
There was confusion Sunday over the death toll, which an official put at 174, but the stadium disaster appeared to be the world’s worst in more than half a century.
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 five-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.
RULES ON TEAR GAS, OVERCAPACITY
World football 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 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.
THE WORST FOR HALF A CENTURY
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.
Indonesia’s football scene has been marred by hooliganism, brutal policing and mismanagement, largely preventing the country of 275 million stadium-filling people from realizing its potential in the sport.
Zainudin Amali, Indonesia’s sports minister, told KompasTV that the ministry will reassess security at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.
The Malang stadium disaster appears to be the deadliest since 1964, when 328 people were killed in a riot and crush when Peru hosted Argentina at the Estadio Nacional.
In an infamous 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; Written by Kate Lamb; Editing by Ed Davies, William Mallard and Kim Coghill
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