Indonesian police under fire after stadium tragedy

Indonesian police under fire after stadium tragedy

“The police have gone too far”: Following the mass movement that killed at least 125 people at a soccer stadium in Indonesia, voices were raised on Sunday denouncing the use of tear gas by the police against thousands of fans who were crowded into the stadium were invaded put up.

• Also read: [EN VIDÉO] A soccer game turns tragic: 125 dead after a riot

• Also read: Indonesia: Global reactions after the Malang tragedy

This tragedy, one of the worst at a stadium to occur in the city of Malang (east of the island of Java) on Saturday night, has also left 323 injured, according to a recent report.

It all started when fans of local team Arema FC took to the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang City after their side lost 3-2 to neighboring Persebaya Surabaya.

The stadium held 42,000 people and was full, authorities said. About 3,000 of them invaded the field after the game.

Police, who described the incident as a “riot,” tried to convince fans to return to the stands and fired tear gas at the crowd after two officers were killed, leading to a scuffle and an uncontrolled crowd. Many victims were trampled on.

Revised balance sheet

The deputy governor of the province of Java (east), Emil Dardak, announced on Sunday evening a downward revision of the balance sheet, which goes from 174 to 125 deaths due to double counting.

“Today’s death toll is 125; 124 were identified and one was not. Some names were registered twice,” the official told Metro TV.

“The players passed with victims in their arms,” ​​Arema FC coach Javier Roca told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. “It was like an avalanche […]everything took on dramatic proportions because of the many people trying to flee,” he continued, believing that “the police have gone too far.”

“If you look at the pictures, they [les policiers, NDLR] might have used other methods,” he continued.

Survivors described panicked bystanders being pinned down by crowds as police fired tear gas canisters.

Footage captured inside the stadium shows a massive amount of gas and people clinging to the barriers, trying to escape. Others carry injured passers-by and fight their way through the chaos.

“Police threw tear gas and people immediately rushed out and pushed each other and that caused many casualties,” Doni, a 43-year-old viewer, told AFP. He did not want to give his last name.

“There was nothing, no riots. I don’t know what happened, they suddenly fired tear gas,” he said.


Amnesty International has called for an investigation into “the use of tear gas” by police and for those who “offended” to be brought to justice.

In an interview with AFP, Sam Gilang, a survivor who lost three friends, spoke of a “terrifying, absolutely shocking” incident.

“People pushed each other […] and many were trampled on the way to the exit. My eyes burned from the tear gas. Luckily, I managed to climb over a fence and survived.

In Jakarta, about 300 football fans, including “Ultras”, gathered for a wake in front of the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, the largest in Indonesia. Some chanted “Murderer!” and set off fireworks in protest.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered “a comprehensive assessment of football matches and security procedures” on Sunday. He urged the National Football Association to suspend all games until there are “safety improvements”.

Charred vehicles, including a police truck, littered the streets outside the stadium on Sunday, showing the public’s anger after the tragedy.

The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) made its mea culpa and there were many reactions from the shocked football world.

This disaster is “an unimaginable tragedy,” said the President of the International Football Association (FIFA), Gianni Infantino.


The secretary-general of the National Football Association PSSI, Yunus Yussi, said he had communicated with FIFA about this dramatic incident, hoping to avoid sanctions from the international organization.

In its recommendations, FIFA prohibits the use of tear gas to control crowds on the pitch.

Clubs Manchester United Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain defender Sergio Ramos sent their condolences online, along with Italy’s Serie A and German Football Association.

In Spain, there is a minute’s silence in the stadiums before the league games on Sunday.

During his Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said he prayed “for those who lost their lives and were injured in the clashes.”

Fan violence is a long-standing problem in Indonesia, where club rivalries have often resulted in deadly clashes.

Some matches – the most important being the Persija Jakarta-Persib Bandung derby – are so tense that players from top teams have to go there under heavy protection.

For Saturday’s game, Persebaya Surabaya fans were not allowed to buy tickets for fear of incidents.

Indonesia is set to host next year’s U-20 World Cup in multiple stadiums across the country, but Malang is not one of them.

In 1989, a mass riot at Hillsborough Stadium in the UK killed 97 Liverpool fans, and in 2012 Egypt’s Port Said Stadium suffered another tragedy that left 74 dead.

In 1964, during a qualifying match between Peru and Argentina, a crowd at Lima’s National Stadium killed 320 people and injured more than 1,000.