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At Least 125 Dead After Indonesian Soccer Stadium Rush: Latest News


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Greater than 125 people died Saturday night after an expert soccer match in Malang, Indonesia, when fans rushed the sector, prompting the police to fireplace tear gas into tightly packed crowds, causing many to be trampled, based on local officials.

After the Arema football club lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya, dozens of fans rushed the sector at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Arema’s home.

The unrest prompted the police to fireplace tear gas, which caused panic, Inspector General Nico Afinta, the East Java Police chief, said at a news conference. As of Sunday night, 125 people were dead, based on a spokesman for the national police. There have been reports that an extra 300 had been injured. The death toll had risen and fallen throughout the day, and police said earlier tolls could have counted among the dead twice.

This makes Saturday’s match among the many deadliest episodes within the history of soccer. In 1964, at the least 300 people died in Peru after an unpopular decision by a referee at a soccer game touched off a riot on the country’s national stadium.

Human rights organizations have condemned the usage of tear gas, however the police called it needed on this case, saying that fans were attacking officers. The usage of the chemical is prohibited by FIFA, soccer’s global governing body. Eyewitnesses have said that the gas was at times fired indiscriminately into the stands, forcing the overcapacity crowd to rush for the exits.

In a televised speech to the nation, President Joko Widodo said he had asked the national police chief to do a radical investigation into what happened. He said he had also ordered the minister of youth and sports, the national police chief and the chairman of Indonesia’s football association to judge security at soccer matches.

“I regret that this tragedy occurred,” Mr. Joko said. “And I hope that is the last football tragedy within the country.

Credit…Yudha Prabowo/Associated Press

In a press release, Indonesia’s Legal Aid Foundation said “the excessive use of force through the usage of tear gas and inappropriate crowd control was the reason for the massive variety of fatalities.”

The East Java police chief, Mr. Afinta, defended the usage of tear gas, saying it was deployed “because there was anarchy.”

“They were about to attack the officers and had damaged the cars,” he said.

Indonesia’s Legal Aid Foundation said the issue was made worse by the overcapacity. Mahfud MD, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said that the local football committee had printed 42,000 tickets, greater than the stadium’s 38,000 capability.

He said the victims died “due to stampede.” They were trampled on and suffocated to death, he said. “There have been no victims of beatings or mistreatment of the supporters,” he said.

The medical team carried out rescue efforts within the stadium after which evacuated others to several hospitals, Chief Afinta said on the news conference.

Credit…Yudha Prabowo/Associated Press

The soccer league, PT Liga Indonesia Baru, suspended play for at the least every week and offered its condolences in a press release. The national governing body for soccer, the P.S.S.I., also offered condolences and said an investigation was underway. It also appeared to solid blame on fans of the Arema club, saying it “regrets the motion” of Arema fans.

Soccer violence has long been an issue for Indonesia. Violent, often deadly rivalries between major teams are common. Some teams even have fan clubs with so-called commanders, who lead large groups of supporters to matches across Indonesia. Flares are sometimes thrown on the sector, and riot police are an everyday presence at many matches. For the reason that Nineteen Nineties, dozens of fans have been killed in soccer-related violence.

Sui-Lee Wee reported from Bangkok, and Muktita Suhartono from Jakarta. Dera Menra Sijabat contributed reporting from Jakarta, and Damien Cave from Sydney, Australia.

Sui-Lee Wee and

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