At least 125 people have been killed in a stadium crush during an Indonesian football match, becoming one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
In addition to the deaths, hundreds were also injured. The crush happened after an Arema FC match. The police tear-gassed fans who had invaded the pitch. This led to panic as the crowds surged towards the exits where many ended up suffocating.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that it was, “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension”.
The carrying and use of crowd control by police and stewards are prohibited by FIFA regulations.
An eyewitness stated that the police had fired numerous rounds of tear gas even after tensions had escalated. People were desperate to get out as evidenced by a hole that was smashed next to one of the exit gates.
The doors themselves are now deformed and slanted outwards.
Candles have been erected outside the exit doors in remembrance of the dead.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered all matches in the Top League stopped until an investigation has been carried out. He also called for this to be the “last soccer tragedy in the nation”.
Video shows fans running to the pitch after the final whistle marked the home team’s 2-3 defeat. In response to this, the police began throwing tear gas bombs.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” said Nico Afinta, East Java police chief.
“We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he added.
Fleeing fans, “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, the officer added.