125 people have been killed in a crush and riot at a soccer match in Indonesia, officials said on Sunday (October 2). It’s one of the world’s worst-ever stadium disasters.
The tragedy unfolded on Saturday (October 1) in Malang, in the province of East Java, after home side Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya. East Java police chief Nico Afinta said frustrated Arema supporters invaded the pitch.
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Officers responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering the crush and cases of suffocation. Afinta claimed officers had been attacked and cars damaged, and said the crush happened when fans fled for an exit gate.
180 were also injured. Among them was 22-year-old Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono who said many friends had lost their lives “because of officers who dehumanized us”.
The head of one of the hospitals in the area treating patients told Metro TV that some of the victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old child.
On Sunday, Malang residents gathered outside the stadium to lay flowers.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the top league until an investigation has been completed.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA has requested a report on the incident from Indonesia’s PSSI soccer association.
In its safety regulations, FIFA specifies that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.
East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.