At least 129 people were killed and about 180 injured at a soccer match in Indonesia after a crowd stampede during riots, police said Sunday in what appears to be one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
When supporters of the losing home team stormed a pitch in East Java province on Saturday night to vent their frustration, police fired tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, sparking a stampede and cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told reporters. .
“It became anarchic. They started attacking officers, damaging cars,” Nico said, adding that the stampede occurred as fans fled for the exits.
Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch at Malang Stadium after Arema FC lost to Persebaya Surabaya. Clashes are seen with what appeared to be tear gas in the air.
Images showed people who appeared to have lost consciousness being carried away by other fans.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA specifies in its security regulations that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by sports commissioners or police.
The East Java Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.
Indonesia’s human rights commission planned to investigate security at the site, including the use of tear gas, its commissioner told Reuters.
The country’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, said in an Instagram post that the stadium was filled beyond its capacity. He said 42,000 tickets had been issued for the stadium, which is designed to hold only 38,000 people.
Trouble has broken out at matches in Indonesia, with strong rivalries between clubs sometimes leading to fan violence.
Zainudin Amali, Indonesia’s sports minister, told KompasTV that the ministry would review security at soccer matches, including considering banning spectators from entering stadiums.
Indonesia’s top league BRI Liga 1 has suspended matches for a week and an investigation has been launched, the Indonesian Football Association said.
Among global stadium disasters, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed in Britain in April 1989 when an overcrowded, fenced-in stadium collapsed at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Indonesia is set to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May and June next year. They are also one of three countries in the running to host next year’s Asian Cup, the equivalent of the Euros, after China pulled out as hosts.
In video: At least 127 dead after Indonesia soccer match riots