May 20, 2024
Deadly chaos erupted early Sunday after soccer fans rioted and police used tear gas in an attempt to restore order. At least 125 people were killed during the incident. A...

Deadly chaos erupted early Sunday after soccer fans rioted and police used tear gas in an attempt to restore order.

At least 125 people were killed during the incident. A report from Reuters said more than 320 people were injured.

The Saturday night match in East Java was held between rivals Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya. When Arema lost on its home field, fans stormed the field, according to Bloomberg.

At that point, police fired tear gas into the crowd, regional Police Chief Nico Afinta said, according to Reuters.

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“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers; they damaged cars,” he said.

He said the deadly crush took place as fans tried to leave through an exit gate.

Two police officers were killed, he said, according to CNN.

Police tactics were blamed by some.

Indonesia’s Legal Aid Foundation said in a statement, “The excessive use of force through the use of tear gas and inappropriate crowd control was the cause of the large number of fatalities,” according to The New York Times.

Soccer’s governing body FIFA bans the use of tear gas at stadiums, according to Reuters.

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino said all connected with the sport were in “a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia,” calling the deaths a “dark day for all involved”.

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While some original reports had the death toll much higher, National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the death toll fluctuated because some victims were counted twice, according to NBC.

He said more than 100 people were hospitalized, with 11 in critical condition.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered the temporary suspension of the local league’s matches, according to Bloomberg.

“I regret this tragedy, and I hope this is the last tragedy of football in the country,” he said Sunday.

Indonesia is scheduled to host the under-20s World Cup next year.