At least 174 people have been killed in a stampede at a football stadium in the eastern Indonesian city of Malang in one of the world’s deadliest sports disasters.
Riots erupted after the game on Saturday night, with hosts Arema FC in Malang City, East Java, losing 3-2 to Persebaya in Surabaya.
Disappointed by the thousands of Arema supporters, known as “Aremagna”, who threw bottles and other objects at players and football officials after the team’s loss. Witnesses said fans flocked to the Kanjuluhan Stadium to protest and demanded an explanation from Arema management for why the game ended in defeat after 23 years of unbeaten home games.
Rioting spread outside the stadium, with at least five police cars being pulled over and set on fire amid the chaos. Riot police responded by firing tear gas, including into the stadium stands, causing panic in the crowd. FIFA bans the use of tear gas in football stadiums.
Hundreds of people ran to the exit to avoid tear gas, some fans suffocated and others were trampled. Amid the chaos, 34 people died in the stadium, including two police officers, and some reports included child casualties.
“Before the tear gas was finally fired, we had taken precautions because [fans] East Java police chief Nico Afinta said at a news conference earlier on Sunday.
Afinta said the death toll could rise because many of the roughly 180 wounded who received intensive treatment at various hospitals were in critical condition.
In view of the tragedy, the Indonesian football association PSSI has suspended the Premier League’s first division indefinitely and banned Arema from hosting football matches for the remainder of the season.