Tear gas used again in Indonesian football stadium

PHOTO: Indonesian police used tear gas on a crowd at a football stadium, despite the 135 deaths last time. (via AsiaOne)

Indonesian police apparently have not learned their lesson about the use of tear gas in football stadium crowds. Yesterday they used a water cannon and tear gas to disperse a large crowd of football fans trying to get into a sold-out match. Officials decided to bar spectators after security concerns. The game was between PSIS Semarang and Persis Solo.

Fans of PSIS Semarang, who were upset about not being able to attend the game, gathered outside the Jatidiri stadium, leading to a confrontation with the police. Fans threw rocks at the police, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.

The incident is particularly embarrassing as visiting team Persis Solo is co-owned by Cabinet minister Erick Thohir, who was elected to lead Indonesia’s football federation the day before the match, and Kaesang Pangarep, the youngest son of President Joko Widodo, who called for enhancements to the organization of domestic games.

This incident comes four months after the tragic stampede at the Srikandi Stadium in Malang. The police used tear gas to control the crowd, which caused panic and chaos, resulting in the deaths of 135 people and the injury of hundreds more.

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An investigation concluded that the excessive and indiscriminate use of tear gas was the primary trigger for the deadly stampede. Football’s governing body, FIFA, prohibits the use of tear gas as a crowd control measure inside stadiums.

No casualties were reported immediately after the incident, and the police have not shared more info yet. Governor Ganjar Pranowo of Central Java, however, expressed his understanding of the fans’ disappointment and believes that the organizers should have coordinated better with the police.

“Police must have their judgment and considerations on the security aspects.”

Indonesia is gearing up to host the under-23 World Cup in May. FIFA is watching closely leading up to the event. Yesterday’s tear-gassing is another blemish on the country’s shaky reputation.

Tear gas used again in Indonesian football stadium | News by Thaiger

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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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