Dhe authorities in Indonesia have corrected the death toll after the violent riots at the soccer game in the city of Malang to 125 – after speaking of 174 deaths a few hours earlier. “Some names were recorded twice because they were transferred to another hospital and rewritten there,” Emil Dardak, deputy governor of Indonesia’s East Java province, told Metro TV on Sunday. 124 of 125 fatalities have now been identified. In the morning, Dardak announced that 174 people had died in the accident at the Malang football stadium.
34 people died on the field of Kanjuruhan Stadium, all others in hospitals, local police chief Nico Afinta said, according to radio station Elshinta and broadcaster tvOne. Two police officers were among the dead, the Indonesian police said. Initially, the number of dead was given as even higher due to double counting.
A local health worker told The Guardian newspaper that people had died as a result of chaos, overcrowding, trampling and lack of oxygen. In addition, 180 people were injured. The police used tear gas to disperse the rampaging spectators, Afinta said at an impromptu press conference on Sunday. The riots broke out after the first division game between Arema FC and Persebaya FC. After the 3-2 defeat, thousands of spectators stormed the pitch.
3000 people stormed the square
The tragedy in Malang is one of the worst sports stadium disasters in the world. The Kanjuruhan Stadium holds a total of 42,000 spectators and was sold out according to the authorities. According to the police, 3,000 people stormed the square. “We would like to point out that not everyone was anarchic, there were only about 3000 who entered the field,” said Afinta.
The human rights organization Amnesty International is calling for an investigation into the use of tear gas by the police. “We must ensure that such a heartbreaking tragedy never happens again,” Amnesty International’s Usman Hamid said in a statement. Tear gas should never be used in a confined space. Criticism of the police reaction to the riots was also voiced on social media.
“The tear gas was used because anarchy had broken out,” Afinta said, according to the New York Times. Some photo and video footage of the events at Kanjuruhan Stadium circulated. A video shows football fans climbing the security fences in front of the stands in front of clouds of smoke. Another video shows people running across the field being chased by police officers with shields and hitting them with sticks.
Other pictures also show fans attacking the police officers. Some showed wrecked, overturned and burned police cars. A total of 13 vehicles are said to have been damaged, including ten belonging to the police.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered a security review of the country’s soccer games in the wake of the disaster. The country’s sports and youth minister, the national police chief and the head of the Indonesian Football Confederation were ordered to “carry out a thorough assessment of football matches and security procedures,” Widodo said in a televised statement.
The football clubs involved, Arema and Persebaya, expressed their condolences to the victims and their families. “Arema FC extends its deepest condolences for the disaster in Kanjuruhan. Arema FC’s management is also responsible for dealing with the casualties, both dead and injured,” said club boss Abdul Haris.
The club will set up a crisis center and a victim information center. “To the families of the victims, the management of Arema FC sincerely apologizes and stands ready to provide compensation. Management stands ready to accept proposals for how to deal with the disaster so that many will be saved,” Haris said.
The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) suspended play in the first division for a week. Arema were banned from playing home games for the remainder of the season. In addition, the association had set up an investigation team that was supposed to start work on Sunday.
“PSSI regrets the actions of Aremania supporters at Kanjuruhan Stadium. We are sorry and apologize to the families of the victims and to everyone involved in the incident,” said Mochamad Iriawan, President of the Association. The police will be assisted in the investigation.
Gianni Infantino spoke of a football world in “shock” on Sunday. “This is a dark day for everyone involved in football and an unimaginable tragedy,” said the FIFA President. “I send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident out.”