At least 131 people died after that Chaos and violence It erupted during an Indonesian soccer league match in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to the governor of East Java, in one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters ever.
Supporters of Arima FC and rival Persibaya Surabaya, two of Indonesia’s biggest soccer teams, clashed in the stands after Arima’s side were defeated 3-2 in a match in Malang, East Java, police said.
Supporters of the losing team “stormed” the stadium and police fired tear gas, triggering a stampede that led to suffocation cases, East Java Police Chief Nico Aventa said during a press conference after the event.
Two police officers were also among the dead, the police chief said, adding that the stampede occurred when fans fled to the exit gate.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, on Sunday ordered the suspension of all league matches until investigations are completed.
“I have specifically asked the chief of police to investigate and get to the heart of this case,” Jokowi said in a televised address. Sportsmanship, humanity and brotherhood must be upheld in Indonesia.
“I am sorry for this tragedy and I hope it will be the last to happen in Indonesian football. We cannot get (from this) anymore in the future.”
Videos filmed from inside the stadium late at night and circulated on social media showed fans in red and blue uniforms – the home team’s colors – storming the stadium and clashing with Indonesian security forces, who appeared to be dressed in riot gear.
Video footage broadcast on local news channels also showed pictures of body bags, Reuters reported.
The smoke, which appeared to be tear gas, was also seen later Videos, with several people appearing as they are being taken to a building. Officials said many were taken to nearby hospitals, suffering from “lack of oxygen and shortness of breath.”
Located in East Java, Kanjuruhan Stadium is mostly used for football matches – its full capacity is estimated to be 38,000 spectators.
But 42,000 tickets were issued for Saturday’s game, according to ministry officials.
“We expected the (big) numbers and suggested that the match be played in the afternoon instead, but it continued into the evening,” Indonesia’s security chief Mahfouz said in a post on his official social media accounts.
He added that the stadium “was filled to more than its maximum capacity.”
Our proposals were not met. I would also like to confirm that the fans on the field are from the Arema FC team.”
There have been previous problems in Indonesia with matches, with strong rivalries between clubs sometimes leading to violence between fans.
“All the sports clubs (in Indonesia) that compete between cities are always intense,” Indonesian football analyst Dicks Gleniza told CNN, noting that fans were “prohibited” from visiting each other’s stadiums.
“(This is) in order to avoid friction and clashes between supporters,” he said. “But there are still many accidents among the fans, most of them outside the stadium.”
With Indonesia preparing to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup next year and bid for the 2023 Asian Cup, there is now global scrutiny on the country.
Observers have noted that the death toll from the Kanjuruhan stadium disaster has outstripped the number of other global football disasters such as the 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy in Sheffield, England, which saw the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.
Criticism is also growing over the police’s handling of Saturday’s event. In a statement issued on Sunday, the Indonesian Police Watch Group (IPW) called for accountability and the “deportation” of Malang Police Chief Ferli Hidayat.
“This is the worst event in Indonesian football. The IPW said the police chief should be ashamed and resign.
“A thorough investigation must be carried out into the death toll and President Jokowi must pay attention,” she added.
Exiled human rights defender in Indonesia Veronica Koman of Amnesty International has condemned the police’s use of tear gas.
“The police misuse of tear gas is illegal and amounts to torture,” she said.
“Tear gas is illegal in war – but why is it still legal for home use?”
The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) suspended matches next week as a result of the fatal tragedy, and banned Arima Football Club from hosting matches until the end of the season.
“PSSI regrets the actions of Aremania fans at Kanjuruhan Stadium,” said the president of the federation, Muhammad Eryawan, in a statement issued on Sunday.
He added that the incident “disfigured the face of Indonesian football” and that they support the official investigations into the event.
“We regret and apologize to the families of the victims and all parties for the incident,” he said.
“In connection with this, PSSI immediately formed an investigation team and immediately left for Malang,” he added.
The International Football Association (FIFA) offered its condolences to the families and friends of the victims and described the incident as a “dark day for all those involved in football and an unfathomable tragedy”.
“Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the injured, together with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, the AFC, the Indonesian Football Association and Indonesian Football. A statement issued by FIFA President Gianni Infantino,” the league, in This is a difficult time.”
Meanwhile, host team Arima FC apologized to all those involved in the tragedy in a statement posted on their website.
“As the president of Arima Football Club, I apologize to all the people of Malang who were affected by this incident, and I am deeply concerned and strongly condemn the riots in Kanjurohan Stadium which resulted in the deaths of more than a hundred people,” the statement said. Club president Gelang Widya Pramana.
Persibaya also issued a statement expressing his condolences, saying: “The large Persibaya family expresses their deepest condolences for the loss of life following the Arima FC match against Persibaya. No life deserves football.”
“Al-Fatiha for the victims and the family left behind for steadfastness.”
Condolences poured out on the victims and their families, and the English Premier League exchanged a message of condolence. “Thoughts of everyone in the Premier League are with those affected by the tragic events at Kanjuruhan Stadium last night.”