Over 120 football fans in Indonesia were tragically killed in a stampede on Saturday, October 1, after police tear-gassed them. The incident is one of the worst stadium disasters.
Fans were gathered at the Kanjuruhan Stadium to watch Arema FC take on Persebaya Surabaya in the Liga 1 last night. The home side lost the match 2-3, despite coming back from two goals down in the first half and going into the break level on terms.
Sho Yamamoto scored for the away side in the 51st minute, and that saw them walk away with all three points.
Local reports (via Sky and NY Times) suggest fans ran onto the pitch after their team lost, leading to chaos. Some players were said to be on the pitch at the time of the invasion, and some were even reportedly attacked.
Police tried to control the crowd with tear gas, leading to fans rushing for one exit, scaling fences, and more running onto the pitch.
Inspector General Nico Afinta, the East Java Police chief, confirmed at a news conference that tear gas was used to control the fans, which ultimately led to them suffocating. He said (via NY Times):
"Tear gas was used because there was anarchy. They were about to attack the officers and had damaged the cars. There was a pile-up. The buildup process resulted in shortness of breath and lack of oxygen."
Football league in Indonesia suspended for a week
PT Liga Indonesia Baru, country's top-flight football league, has been suspended for a week following the tragedy. Two matches were scheduled to be played on Sunday - Persib vs Persija Jakarta and PSIS Semarang vs Bhayangkara.
Akhmad Hadian Lukita, president director of PT Liga Indonesia Baru, spoke about the tragic incident and conveyed his condolences. He said:
"We are concerned and deeply regret this incident. We share our condolences and hopefully this will be a valuable lesson for all of us."
As per the schedule, the next match in PT Liga Indonesia Baru is expected to be played on October 13, when the unbeaten PSM Makassar host fourth-placed Persita.