Indonesia football riot, which led to 132 deaths, caused by police tear gas

Tear gas fired by the police led to the deaths of 132 people, including dozens of children, at a football match in Indonesia, according to the findings of a government-led investigation.

Indonesia football riot, which led to 132 deaths, caused by police tear gas
Sports

Indonesia football riot, which led to 132 deaths, caused by police tear gas

published : 14 Oct 2022 at 17:00

writer: Bloomberg, AFP

A riot police officer fires tear gas during a riot after the league BRI Liga 1 football match between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on Oct 2, 2022, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. (Photo: Reuters)

Tear gas fired by the police led to the deaths of 132 people, including dozens of children, at a football match in Indonesia, according to the findings of a government-led investigation.

Footage from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras around the East Java stadium confirmed that most of the victims were injured or killed in an ensuing stampede after the police shot the gas into the crowd, said Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD in a press briefing on Friday. The stampede took place after a match between home team Arema FC and rivals Persebaya Surabaya on Oct s in the city of Malang, East Java.

“The way the victims fell was more terrifying than what has been reported on TV and social media,” he said, describing how a few of the spectators were crushed to death while trying to resuscitate other people or looking for their friends.

Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo pledged to take steps to regain public trust in a separate speech on Friday.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) prohibits the firing of tear gas in a sports arena, but the police said they had to use it for the safety of their officers and spectators. The tragedy reignited public backlash and calls for reform of the police force, which has long been criticised for its brutality and corruption. In the aftermath, President Joko Widodo ordered a thorough audit on all soccer stadiums, while several law enforcement officers have been fired.

The coordinating ministry also urged the police to push ahead with ongoing criminal probes into parties, including the national football association and the force itself.

- Indonesia task force wants FA chief to resign -

The task force investigating the stadium tragedy has also called on the country's football association chief to resign.

"Technically, the government cannot intervene in PSSI, but in a country based on morals, ethics and great culture, it is recommended the PSSI head and all the executive committee members resign as the form of responsibility," the report, handed to the Indonesian president, said, referring to the football association.

The 124-page investigation report has been submitted to Jokowi, said Mahfud. The report was released after the minister held the press conference saying the association, known by its Indonesian acronym PSSI, should take responsibility for the disaster.

Rights groups and survivors told AFP the police used excessive force in responding to a pitch invasion while experts on Indonesian football said the country's most popular sport had been poorly managed by officials at all levels for decades.

In response to the disaster, Widodo suspended all football matches until the investigation was complete and ordered a safety review of all stadiums.

Indonesian army soldiers and civilians pay their respects for victims of the stampede at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java, on Oct 4, 2022. Elite Indonesian police officers were under investigation over a stadium stampede that killed 132, people including dozens of children, in one of the deadliest disasters in football history. (Photo: AFP)

Mahfud on Friday also blamed other football stakeholders including Arema FC, accusing them of negligence.

"We also found out the stakeholders dodged their responsibilities, they all took shelter under the regulations and contracts which are technically legal," he said.

The fact-finding team also suggested the PSSI revise its regulations to eliminate any potential conflict of interest between the police and the association.

The current head of the association Mochammad Iriawan is the former police chief of the capital Jakarta.

At least six people, including three police officers, have been charged in the deadly incident.



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