Indonesia: 174 football fans died after stampede and riots on the pitch

Fans storm the soccer field after a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia October 2, 2022 in this screenshot taken from a REUTERS video. REUTERS-TV via REUTERS

Fans stormed the pitch after Arema FC lost to Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia (Image: Reuters)

At least 170 people were trampled to death or suffocated during riots at a soccer field in Indonesia.

Thousands of Arema FC fans flooded the ground in the East Java city of Malang, throwing bottles and other objects at players and officials after losing to Persebaya Surabaya – their first home defeat in 23 years.

The riots spread outside Kanjuruhan Stadium, where at least five police vehicles were overturned and set on fire amid the chaos.

Riot officers responded by firing tear gas – which is banned by Fifa – also into the stadium’s stands, sparking panic among the crowd.

Some people suffocated and others were trampled as hundreds of fans rushed to the exit to avoid the tear gas.

Dozens died in a panic at the stadium, including two officers. Children are said to have been among the victims.

It instantly becomes one of the deadliest sporting events the world has ever seen.

More than 300 people were taken to nearby hospitals, but many died en route and while being treated, East Java Police Chief Nico Afinta said.

Photo taken on Oct. 1, 2022 shows a boy (C) being carried as members of the Indonesian Army secure the pitch after a soccer match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, east Java. - At least 127 people died at a soccer stadium in Indonesia late on October 1 when fans rushed onto the field and police responded with tear gas, sparking a stampede, officials said. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

A boy is carried away by the Indonesian army after they secured the pitch (Image: AFP)

Members of security forces try to disperse fans who rushed into the soccer field after a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia October 2, 2022 in this screenshot taken from a REUTERS video. REUTERS-TV via REUTERS

Tear gas is fired at fans rushing towards the exits (Image: Reuters)

Members of the security forces help a player leave the field after fans invaded the soccer field after a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia October 2, 2022. This screenshot is from a REUTERS video. REUTERS-TV via REUTERS

A player is led away after fans storm the pitch (Image: Reuters)

He said the death toll is likely to rise as many of the roughly 180 injured in intensive care worsen.

The Football Association of Indonesia, known as PSSI, has suspended Premier League Liga 1 indefinitely and banned Arema from hosting games for the remainder of the season.

TV reports showed police and rescue workers evacuating the injured and carrying the dead to ambulances.

Mourning relatives awaited information about their loved ones at Malang’s Saiful Anwar General Hospital. Others tried to identify the bodies laid out in a morgue.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his heartfelt condolences to the dead.

“I deeply regret this tragedy and hope this will be the last football tragedy in this country. Don’t allow another human tragedy like this to happen in the future,” he said.

Photo taken on October 1, 2022 shows Indonesian army and police securing the pitch after a soccer match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java. - At least 127 people died at a soccer stadium in Indonesia late on October 1 when fans rushed onto the field and police responded with tear gas, sparking a stampede, officials said. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Indonesian soldiers and police stormed onto the pitch (Image: AFP)

Photo taken on Oct. 1, 2022 shows members of the Indonesian Army securing the pitch after a soccer match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, east Java. - At least 127 people died at a soccer stadium in Indonesia late on October 1 when fans rushed onto the field and police responded with tear gas, sparking a stampede, officials said. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Indonesian army is sent in with protective shields (Image: AFP)

Fans storm the soccer field after a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia October 2, 2022 in this screenshot taken from a REUTERS video. REUTERS-TV via REUTERS

Police fired tear gas at fans (Image: Reuters)

*** BESTPIX *** This image shows vehicles set on fire in front of Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java on October 2, 2022. - At least 127 people were killed when angry fans crashed into one after a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya Soccer field invaded Malang, East Java in Indonesia, late October 1, police said. (Photo by PUTRI/AFP) (Photo by PUTRI/AFP via Getty Images)

A car was set on fire in front of the stadium during the riots (Image: AFP)

“We must continue to uphold the sportsmanship, humanity and a sense of brotherhood of the Indonesian nation.”

He ordered the Minister for Youth and Sports, the national police chief and the chairman of the PSSI to conduct a thorough assessment of the game and its security procedures.

He also ordered the PSSI to temporarily suspend League 1 until they can be evaluated and safety procedures improved.

Ferli Hidayat, Malang’s local police chief, said there were around 42,000 spectators at Saturday’s game, all Aremanians, because the organizer banned Persebaya fans from entering the stadium to avoid brawls.

Despite Indonesia’s lack of international sporting accolades, hooliganism is rampant in the football-obsessed country, where bigotry often ends in violence, as in 2018 with the death of a Persija Jakarta supporter, who was killed by a mob of hardcore fans of rival Persib Bandung im year 2018.

Saturday’s game is already among the world’s worst mass disasters, including the 1996 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City, which left more than 80 dead and about 100 others injured.

In April 2001, more than 40 people were crushed to death during a football match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/02/indonesia-174-football-fans-dead-after-stampede-and-riots-on-pitch-17487362/ Indonesia: 174 football fans died after stampede and riots on the pitch

Justin Scacco

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