A stampede at a football stadium in Indonesia has killed 125 people and leaving over 320 injured after the use of tear gas by the local police to subdue rival violence, the authorities said, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
Police Officers had fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse agitated supporters of the losing home side who had invaded the pitch after the final whistle in Malang, East Java, on the game night, the region’s police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” Chief Nico said, adding that the stampede had occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.
World Football governing body FIFA highlights in its safety regulations that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.
The East Java police did not respond upon a request for comments on whether they were aware of the regulations against using tear gas in stadiums.
What led to this chaotic situation;
The stadium stampede disaster on October 1st appeared to be the world’s worst in decades. According to the head of Malang’s health agency, Wiyanto Wijoyo, the final death toll stands at 125, and injuries at 323.
Video footage from local news channels showed fans charging onto the pitch after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya around 10 p.m. (1500 GMT), followed by small petty scuffles, and what appeared to be clouds of tear gas and unconscious fans being carried out of the venue.
Several authorities including the governing body of Football had requested for investigations to be carried out on the incident. In a statement to Reuters News Agency, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that the football world was in “a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia” and the event was a “dark day for all involved”.
Accordingly, FIFA has requested a detailed report on the incident from PSSI, which has sent a team to Malang to conduct an investigation into the incident. Moreover, Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission also plans to investigate the security at the grounds, including the unannounced use of tear gas.
On the following day of the disastrous incident, mourners were seen gathered outside the gates of the stadium to lay flowers for the victims. Later that night people were seen lighting candles in a vigil at a lion statue, the local club’s symbol. According to locals, hundreds also attended a candle-lit vigil in the capital Jakarta on Sunday, October 02nd night, carrying placards that read “Indonesian Football in mourning” and “stop police brutality.”
Several local and International organizations including Amnesty International Indonesia had issued statements condemning the police brutality during the violence, mentioning that the “use of excessive force by the state to contain or control such crowds cannot be justified at all”. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Chief Security Minister, Mahfud MD, stated in an Instagram post that the stadium had been filled beyond its capacity. According to him, some 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium designed to hold 38,000 people.
History repeats itself;
Periodic stadium disasters have horrified fans around the world, In 1964, 328 people were killed during a stampede when Peru hosted Argentine at the Estadio Nacional. In 1989, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death when an overcrowded and fenced-in enclosure collapsed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Your safety is your responsibility;
Gathering in a place with a large crowd is often quite normal and don’t result in any serious problem. However, if a crowd surges beyond the capacity of the space, or if there’s bad crowd management, chaos could result.
When a crowd of people moves in the same direction at the same time, some may collide and pile up against or on top of each other, resulting in a stampede, crowd surge, or crowd crush. Experts advise to avoid rushing to the exits in the midst of a crowd surge. According to Experts attention to where first aid centers and security are stationed is vital if anyone is injured.
Staying away from barricades or fences near the main stage, where the crowd pressure tends to surge is also a good way to remain intact. When in a moving crowd, trying to walk the same speed as the rest of the crowd is a way to not get injured during a stampede says this Experts.
Indonesia is scheduled to host the FIFA under-20 World Cup in May and June next year. Indonesia is also one of three countries bidding to stage next year’s Asian Cup, after China pulled out as hosts.