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Explained: What’s Behind Indonesia’s Deadly Football Tragedy That Killed 174 People

Explained: What’s Behind Indonesia’s Deadly Football Tragedy That Killed 174 People

By Sanjay Maurya

AFP (news agency) reported that at least 174 people were killed and 180 injured after fans stormed the pitch at a football stadium in Indonesia, sparking a stampede that prompted police to respond with tear gas in East Java province. Children and police officers were also among the dead. It is being told that 34 people died on the spot in the violence. While many people died in the hospital. This football match was taking place between Persebaya Surabaya and Arema FC.

The toll was up from 129 earlier on that day.

The stadium holds 42,000 people and authorities said it was a sell-out. Police said about 3,000 people had stormed the pitch. Vehicles outside the stadium were also torched, including at least five police cars and trucks.

How did the chaos occur?

On Saturday at 8 pm local time, a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya started at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. At around 10 pm, the match ended with the home team Arema losing to Persebaya Surabaya 3-2. Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya have been bitter rivals for a long time and it was the first time in two decades that Arema lost to Surabaya.

The police said that there were approximately 42,000 fans in the stadium, all of whom were Arema’s supporters because the organizer had banned Persebaya supporters in an effort to avoid brawls. But Arema’s disappointing loss prompted angry spectators to take to the field after the match to demand answers.

The fight spread throughout the stadium and people clashed. The situation was that the security forces present there somehow had to save their lives. Indonesia’s national armed forces were called to the ground to handle the situation. However, it was too late. The army somehow took the rioting crowd out of the stadium. Even after leaving the stadium, there was a fierce fight.

The deputy governor of East Java said that 174 people died in this accident. The police tried to control the situation with all their power and took the players out safely. Some people present on the field were left to die from tear gas shells. When people fell on the ground, the crowd crushed them. We ordered the fans to return to the stands, but when two police officers were killed, tear gas shells were fired,” the police said in a statement.

Indonesian President orders security probe

Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed deep regret and ordered a thorough investigation into the case. He also ordered that the Premier Football League be suspended until the re-evaluation of match safety and strict security. Indonesia’s soccer association also banned Arema from hosting soccer matches for the rest of the season.

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