127 dead in Indonesian football stadium stampede

PHOTO: 127 people were killed in an Indonesian football stadium stampede. (via Nikkei Asia)

After a football team in Indonesia lost 3-2, angry fans mobbed the stadium pitch resulting in a stampede and 127 deaths. The riot took place in the Eastern Java city of Malang, at the Kanjuruhan stadium. When supporters of Arema FC flooded the field, two police officers were killed in the mayhem. The police fired tear gas into the crowd to disperse them, which in turn created chaos that evolved into a stampede.

In total, 127 people lost their lives in the pandemonium, most of which were trampled. As Arema FC supporters pushed and raced to get to the exit, people were crushed and suffocated. Pictures taken by people inside the stadium at the time show spectators frantically climbing fences as plumes of tear gas filled the air. People were seen trying to pick up and rescue those who had been injured or trampled.

A total of 34 people, including the two police officers, died during the stampede inside the stadium. Another 93 people made it out but then later succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.

Violence and damage connected to sporting events have been a consistent problem in Indonesia. Sports fans become intensely devoted to their favourite teams and defend them with vigour. Often physical brutality breaks out when clashing with supporters of an opposing team.

Today, the morning after the stampede, the streets around the stadium looked like a war zone. A police truck had been burned along with several other vehicles.

In the aftermath of the chaos and violence, Arema FC has been barred from hosting any more home games for the entirety of the season. The Football Association of Indonesia has suspended all matches for a week. The association is launching an investigation into the stadium stampede.

The government has also promised a separate investigation into the riots. The Sports and Youth Minister for Indonesia issued a public apology.

“We’re sorry for this incident… this is a regrettable incident that ‘injures’ our football at a time when supporters can watch football matches from the stadium. We will thoroughly evaluate the organisation of the match and the attendance of supporters. Will we return to banning supporters from attending the matches? That is what we will discuss.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

World News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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