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Stampede caused by tear gas: 125 dead after Indonesia football match

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“We already took preventive action before finally firing the tear gas when (fans) started attacking the police, acting anarchistically and setting vehicles on fire,” East Java police chief Nico Afinta said at a news conference early Sunday.

More than 300 people were rushed to hospitals, but many died en route and during treatment, Afinta said.

National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the death toll had been reduced to 125 after authorities determined some victims had been counted twice. More than 100 were treated intensively at eight hospitals, 11 of which were in critical condition.

Television reports showed that police and rescue workers evacuated the injured and carried the dead to ambulances.

Grieving relatives waited for information about their loved ones at Saiful Anwar General Hospital in Malang. Others tried to identify the bodies that had been placed in a morgue.

In a statement, FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his condolences on behalf of the global football community, saying that “the football world is in a state of shock”. The statement made no mention of the use of tear gas.

Police are investigating next to a burned-out vehicle outside Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, on Sunday.PUTRI/AFP – Getty Images

The Indonesian Football Association, known as PSSI, has indefinitely suspended Premier League Liga 1 in light of the tragedy and has banned Arema from hosting football matches for the remainder of the season.

Indonesia is due to host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2023, with 24 teams participating. As a host, the country automatically qualifies for the cup.

“Unfortunately, this incident has certainly damaged our football image,” said Minister of Youth and Sports Zainudin Amali.

Despite Indonesia’s lack of international awards in the sport, hooliganism is rife in the football-obsessed country where fanaticism often ends in violence, such as the 2018 death of a Persija Jakarta supporter who was killed by a mob of hardcore fans of rival club Persib Bandung. in 2018.

Malang’s police chief Ferli Hidayat said some 42,000 spectators attended the match on Saturday, all of whom were Arema supporters because the organizer had banned Persebaya fans from entering the stadium in an effort to avoid fighting.

Saturday’s game is already one of the world’s worst public disasters, including the 1996 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City, which left more than 80 dead and more than 100 injured. In April 2001, more than 40 people are crushed during a football match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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