On Saturday night, fans rushed into a field after a football match, as their team lost the game. Police teargassed the closely packed crowds of people as soccer (football) fans swarmed into the field. There was chaos as people rushed to the many exits and many got crushed or died due to asphyxiation. On Sunday, officials confirmed that at least 125 people have died.
The disaster occurred at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia. The stadium was packed, above capacity with fans as thousands had come to see their home team Arema play against Persebaya Surabaya, on October 1. After the home team lost, fans ran into the field.
Police fired tear gas to control the scene. However, this led to panic and crushes as people rushed towards the exits and about 125 of them died in the ensuing chaos while 300 or so have been injured in the incident.
At least 174 people were killed and nearly 180 were injured in a crush and a riot at a soccer match in Indonesia, making it one of the world's worst stadium disasters https://t.co/B2kzzU1Ees pic.twitter.com/SuXnPw0g0O— Reuters (@Reuters) October 2, 2022
President Joko Widodo appeared on a televised speech to Indonesians where he regretted that the tragedy had taken place. He said that the national chief of police had been asked to conduct a thorough investigation. He also ordered a security evaluation at soccer matches. He also said that he hoped that this incident would be the last football tragedy in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s Legal Aid Foundation released a statement that stated that the large number of fatalities were due to the “excessive use of force through the use of tear gas and inappropriate crowd control.” The statement also acknowledged that overcapacity made the chaotic situation, worse.
JUST IN: At least 150 football fans died on Saturday night after a professional soccer match in Malang, Indonesia, when fans rushed the field, prompting the police to fire tear gas into tightly packed crowds, causing many to be trampled, according to local officials. pic.twitter.com/aThq3iome8— Eons Intelligence (@eonsintelligenc) October 2, 2022
East Java police chief defended the actions of the officers and said that tear gas had to be deployed as there was “anarchy.”
In a statement the PT Liga Indonesia Baru, the soccer league in the country offered condolences. They also suspended matches for at least a week. Others including FIFA also offered their condolence and flags flew at half-mast at the FIFA headquarters in a tribute to all those who had lost their lives in the tragic incident at the Kanjuruhan Stadium, in Malang, Indonesia.