One of the worst sporting tragedies in the world has claimed at least 174 people in Indonesia after riot-police fired tear gas sparking panic among soccer fans.
Supporters of the losing team invaded the pitch and police fired tear gas, leading to the rush.
FIFA, the world soccer body called the incident “a tragedy beyond comprehension, ” since Police use of tear gas is banned at soccer stadiums.
Many chocked and others were trampled in the crush as fans made for the exits following violence after the game Saturday evening at a stadium in the city of Malang, in East Java province.
Hosting side Arema FC lost 3-2 to visiting side Persebaya FC.
Thousands of agitated supporters pelted players and soccer officials with water cans and other objects.
Many others flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home matches against rival Persebaya, this one ended in a loss.
34 people died instantly at the stadium, including two officers, officials said, and some reports include children among the casualties while hundreds were on the pitch struggling with various level of pains.
“I deeply regret this tragedy and I hope this is the last soccer tragedy in this country,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in a televised speech Sunday.
Widodo ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the security procedures.
“We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the tear gas as (fans) began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles,” East Java police chief Nico Afinta said while briefing pressmen on Sunday.
In all, more than 300 people were taken to hospitals but many died on the way and during treatment, Afinta said.
National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the death toll had been revised down to 174 after authorities found some of the victims were counted twice.
Over 100 victims are currently receiving intensive treatment in eight hospitals, 11 of them in critical condition.
Grieving relatives waited for information about their loved ones at Malang’s Saiful Anwar General Hospital. Others tried to identify the bodies laid at a morgue.
Civil rights groups reacted to the tragedy by citing FIFA’s stadium safety guidelines against the use of “crowd control gas” by pitch side stewards or police.
Amnesty International called on authorities in Indonesian to conduct a swift, thorough and independent investigation into the use of tear gas at Kanjuruhan stadium.
Copyright: News Central TV
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.