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At least 170 people dead in Indonesian football stadium crush

At least 170 people dead in Indonesian football stadium crush
October 2, 2022

More than 170 people have died in a crush at a football match at Malang in Indonesia in an incident that has become one of the world's worst sports stadium disasters.

Another 180 were also hurt after fans invaded the field after home team Arema FC's 3-2 loss to local rivals Persebaya Surabaya at the end of an Indonesian Premier League game late on Saturday.

Disappointed with the loss, thousands of supporters threw bottles and other objects at players and officials before storming the pitch at the Kanjuruhan Stadium.

In response authorities fired tear gas, leading to a crowd stampede and people being crushed as they rushed exits at the 42,000 capacity venue.

With two police officers among the dead, East Java Police Chief, Nico Afinta told reporters that after fans invaded the pitch "it had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars.

"We would like to convey that ... not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch.”

He added fleeing fans "went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen.”

Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in the country's top league must be stopped until an investigation has been carried out, calling for this incident to be the "last soccer tragedy in the nation".

The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) said it had launched an investigation, adding that the incident had "tarnished the face of Indonesian football".

Violence at football matches is not new in Indonesia, and Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are long-time rivals.

However, Persebaya Surabaya fans were banned from buying tickets for the game because of fears of clashes.

Indonesia’s Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD said in an Instagram post that the venue had been filled beyond its capacity, saying that 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium that is only supposed to hold 38,000 people.

However, other sources suggest the venue has a 42,000 capacity.

World football governing football body FIFA states that no "crowd control gas" should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.

Editor's note: As of Monday 17th October 2022 the death toll has been revised to 132.

Images: Tear gas being fired after a pitch invasion by fans at Melang's Kanjuruhan Stadium yesterday (top) and the venue when not in use (below).

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