Indonesia Football Tragedy

Following a professional soccer match in Indonesia on Saturday night, supporters rushed the field, causing police to fire tear gas into the crowded stands, triggering a stampede that killed at least 125 people, according to local officials.

Thousands of Malang, Indonesians jammed into Kanjuruhan Stadium to watch the home team, Arema, play against the visitors, Persebaya Surabaya. The crowd rushed the pitch after the final score of 3-2, which Arema did not win.

East Java Police Chief Inspector General Nico Afinta told reporters that tear gas was used to disperse the crowds after the unrest. 125 people had died by Sunday night, a spokeswoman for the national police force said.

It was said that 300 more people were hurt. The number of fatalities fluctuated throughout the day, with authorities claiming that an earlier tally may have double-counted some victims.

The death toll makes Saturday’s game one of the worst in soccer history. Over 300 people were killed in a riot that broke out in Peru’s national stadium in 1964 after a referee’s controversial call during a soccer game.

President Joko Widodo announced in a televised address to the nation that he had requested a full investigation into the incident from the head of the national police force and had also ordered a review of security procedures at soccer games.

Mr. Joko expressed his sadness over the accident, saying, “I regret that this tragedy occurred.” I truly pray this is the final football-related tragedy in the country.

Human rights groups criticized the use of tear gas, which is banned by soccer’s international governing body, FIFA. According to witnesses, the gas was sometimes thrown randomly into the stands, sending the already-packed audience scurrying for the exits.

A substantial number of deaths were caused by “the excessive use of force,” according to a statement released by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation. This was due to the use of tear gas and improper crowd management. On the other hand, Mr. Afinta, the head of police in East Java, defended the use of tear gas by claiming it was used “because there was chaos.”

‘They were about to attack the officers and had damaged the cars,’ he claimed. Legal Aid Foundation in Indonesia claims that overcapacity is another factor contributing to the crisis. Mahfud MD, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal, and security matters said that the local soccer organization had produced 42,000 tickets for a stadium that only holds 38,000.

The fatalities, he stated, passed away “due to the stampede,” meaning they were crushed to death under the weight of the crowd. He claimed that no supporters were harmed as a result of beatings or another mistreatment.

The PT Liga Indonesia Baru soccer league issued a statement expressing its sadness and suspending games for at least a week. The P.S.S.I., the national soccer governing body, also expressed condolences and said an inquiry was underway, but it attempted to place blame on Arema club fans by saying it “regrets the action” of the fans.

Indonesia has a lengthy history of soccer violence due to the frequent occurrence of violent and sometimes fatal rivalry amongst the country’s most prominent teams. Many matches feature the deployment of riot police due to the frequent use of flares on the field. Several dozen soccer supporters have been killed in violent incidents throughout the 1990s.

One of The Worst Stadium Disasters in History

The Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java has a capacity of around 38,000 people and is primarily utilized for hosting soccer events. However, ministry officials report that 42,000 tickets were distributed for Saturday’s event.

In a statement uploaded on his official social media accounts, Indonesian Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD said, “We had anticipated the (huge) attendance and requested that the game be held in the afternoon instead, but it went on in the evening.”

Indonesia Soccer Incident

It was “packed beyond its maximum capacity,” he said of the stadium. Not all of our suggestions were taken into consideration. The fans in the stands were Arema FC fans, I want to stress that as well. As a result of intense competition between teams, matches in Indonesia have historically been marred by outbreaks of unrest among spectators.

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CNN’s Indonesian football commentator Dex Glenniza said that fans of Arema and Persebaya were “forbidden” from going to each other’s stadiums because of the “intense” rivalry between the two teams’ respective locales.

He explained that this was done so that “friction and conflicts between fans” might be avoided. However, “there are still many incidents amongst the fans, most of which occur off the field.”

Police chief Listyo has stated that his department would examine the match’s preparation and security measures and that several specialized teams have been called to the scene. He added that the on-duty cops will be interviewed as part of the investigation.

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The eyes of the world will be on Indonesia in 2019 as the country hosts the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and campaigns to host the 2023 Asian Cup. The death toll at Kanjuruhan Stadium has reportedly topped that of other major soccer tragedies like the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy in Sheffield, England, in 1989, in which 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

There has been rising criticism of the police response to the incident on Saturday. Malang Police Chief Ferli Hidayat was the subject of a statement issued by the monitoring group Indonesian Police Watch (IPW) on Sunday, which demanded answers and the “removal” of Hidayat.

This is the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of Indonesian soccer. IPW has called for the resignation of the police head, saying he or she should feel ashamed of themselves. It went on to say that President Jokowi “must pay attention” and that a full investigation into the number of deaths was necessary.

 

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