At least 129 people died and around 180 were injured in a stampede during a football match in the Indonesian province of East Java. According to police, the stadium was over capacity with around 4,000 people during the match.
After the end of a soccer match between Indonesia’s eternal rivals Arema and Persebaya Surabaya in Malang, a group of angry fans stormed the field, Reuters reported. “There was a mess, they started attacking policemen, smashing cars,” the East Java provincial police chief later explainedNico Afinta, adding that not all fans were violent“only about 3,000 who invaded the field”.
The police tried to calm the situation with tear gas – despite the instructions of Fifa, which advises against the use of tear gas in stadiums – with the result that panic broke out among the fans, who tried to make their way to the exits as quickly as possible. At least 129 people died from injuries and suffocation, and many were injured.
According to the BBC, violence is so common at football matches in Indonesia that the authorities banned Persebaya Surabaya fans from buying tickets ahead of the derby. In practice, it was clearly different. The problem was also the overcrowding of the stadium – as the Indonesian Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs wrote on social networks after the event Mahfud MD42,000 tickets were sold for the match at the 38,000 capacity Kanjuruhan Stadium.
President Joko Widodo described the incident as “the country’s latest football tragedy”, ordered a temporary ban on all matches in the country’s first football league and ordered a re-evaluation of security at matches.