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Monday, December 11, 2023

At least 125 killed in riots after football match in Indonesia


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At least 125 football supporters have died during riots at Kanjuruhan Stadium in the Indonesian city of Malang. That’s what the police say to local media. The death toll is expected to rise further.

Authorities previously spoke of 174 dead, but that number has now been revised down. Some deaths may have been double counted. About 180 people are still in the hospital.

The riots started after a football match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya. After Arema lost 3-2 at home, the club’s supporters stormed onto the field in anger. The riot police tried to stop the fighting by firing tear gas canisters on the pitch and stands.

Thousands of visitors are said to have suffered from breathing problems due to the tear gas. People were also overrun when panic broke out. Hundreds of football fans have been taken to hospital. 34 people died in the stadium, the rest on the way to or in the hospital. Among the dead are two officers from the National Police.

According to the Minister of Security, too many people were allowed into the stadium. According to him, 42,000 tickets had been sold, while only 38,000 people are allowed in the stadium. The Indonesian Football Association is currently investigating the fatal riots. Southeast Asia correspondent Mustafa Marghadi tells the NOS that the investigation is also aimed at the actions of the police. “You are not allowed to use tear gas in a stadium according to FIFA rules, precisely to prevent chaos, panic and this kind of situation.”

Football violence has long been a problem in Indonesia. It was advised to only allow home supporters for this match due to the strong rivalry between the two clubs. It is unclear why this advice was not followed. Minister Amali of Sport is thinking about stricter safety rules around football matches. He wants to study the possibility of having matches played without an audience.

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