In Indonesia, 127 people died in violence after a soccer game

In Indonesia, 127 people died in violence after a soccer game

At least 127 people died in a crowd caused by fans who rushed into a soccer field after a game in Indonesia on Saturday night in Indonesia, authorities reported on Sunday, in a country where rivalries between fans often lead to disaster.

Arema FC team fans took to the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium in the eastern city of Malang after their team lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya. It was the first time in more than twenty years that Arema FC lost to its great rival.

Police, who described the incident as a “riot,” tried to convince fans to return to the stands and fired tear gas after two officers were killed. Many victims were trampled to death.

Burnt-out vehicles in front of Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, on October 2, 2022 (AFP – PUTRI)

“127 people died in the incident, including two police officers. 34 people died in the stadium and the rest died in hospital,” local police chief Nico Afinta said in a statement.

Several people were crushed while running towards one of the stadium’s exits and died of asphyxiation, Mr Afinta explained.

Footage captured at the stadium shows a huge amount of tear gas and people clinging to the barriers, trying to escape. Others carried injured passers-by and made their way through the chaos.

– desolation –

A harrowing spectacle in front of the stadium on Sunday morning testified to the unrest of the day before: charred vehicles, including a police truck, were on the streets.

Indonesian Army members secure the pitch after a soccer match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, October 1, 2022 (AFP - STR)
Indonesian Army members secure the pitch after a soccer match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, October 1, 2022 (AFP – STR)

The Indonesian government apologized for this incident and promised to investigate the circumstances of this mass movement.

“We are sorry for this incident (…) It is a regrettable incident that + hurts + our football at a time when fans can attend a game in a stadium,” Indonesian Minister of Sport and Youth Zainudin Amali said in the Compass channel.

“We will thoroughly examine the organization of the game and the number of fans (in the stadium). Will we ban the presence of fans at games again? We will discuss it,” he added.

Blame also came from the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), which suspended all games scheduled for this week, banned Arema FC from hosting home games for the remainder of the season and said it would send a team of investigators to Malang to determine the cause of the crash.

Motorcyclists commute in front of Kanjuruhan Stadium the day after the soccer match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya in Malang, east Java, October 2, 2022 (AFP - PUTRI)
Motorcyclists commute in front of Kanjuruhan Stadium the day after the soccer match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya in Malang, east Java, October 2, 2022 (AFP – PUTRI)

“We are sorry and apologize to the families of the victims and everyone involved in this incident,” said PSSI President Mochamad Iriawan.

Fan violence is a problem in Indonesia, where longstanding rivalries have resulted in deadly clashes.

Some matches – the biggest of which is the Old Indonesia Derby between Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung – are so tense that players from top teams have to be put under strict protection.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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