More than 100 dead in soccer riots in Indonesia | Abroad

At least 129 people were killed in soccer riots in the Indonesian city of Malang, East Java province, on Saturday. Among the victims were two police officers. According to the authorities, about 180 people are being treated in hospitals.

The riots erupted after a match between Arima of Malang and Persibaya Surabaya of Surabaya. After the match, which Malang FC lost 2-3, thousands of fans of both teams stormed the stadium. The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Local police chief Nico Aventa said most of the casualties were due to lack of oxygen in the crowd in the square. He first reported the deaths of 127 people, including two police officers. Later, emergency response officer Widjanto Widjou adjusted the balance to 129 deaths, based on data collected from hospitals. “We are setting up a call center to provide information to families who are looking for their loved ones,” he said.

The tvOne news website showed pictures of dozens of people in hospitals waiting for help. There are also pictures of fire damage to the stands and field and destroyed police vehicles in and around Malang Stadium. According to the police, 34 people died in the crowding in the square. Others died later in hospitals.

Read more below the image:

A burnt police car. © AFP

arch rivals

Arima and Persibaya Surabaya play in the Indonesian first division football league, LaLiga 1, and are considered traditional rivals. All matches in the division have been suspended for a week and PSSI has announced that it will investigate exactly what happened.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Sunday that the competition should continue only after a thorough investigation into the safety of soccer matches. Sports Minister Zinedine Amalie said he wanted stricter security rules around football matches and that matches could be played without an audience. Police in East Java said they were advised that only fans of the local team be allowed in and that the match be played during the day, not in the evening, due to the fierce competition between the two clubs. It is not known why these recommendations were not followed. Also, far more tickets were sold than were allowed.

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Denton Watson

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