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Indonesian Soccer Tragedy: in the Next Days, Authorities Will Work to Identify Those Responsible for the Stampede

The police officers who are accused of deploying tear gas to disperse people inside the congested stadium will be the primary focus of an inquiry.

Indonesia will identify stadium stampede suspects within days

It’s JAKARTA, Indonesia — Within days, Indonesian authorities have promised to name the police officers they suspect of having a part in the deaths of 125 people at a soccer stadium.

Police personnel who committed acts of aggression while on duty at the Kanjuruhan Stadium are anticipated to face criminal charges, as stated by Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD on Monday.

The national police commander also said on Monday that 18 officers who had used tear gas had been interrogated by authorities. Mr. Mahfud further stated that military members who were witnessed beating spectators would be subject to disciplinary action.

Mr. Mahfud estimated that the probe would take the panel two to four weeks. Two academics, two retired military officials, a former police official, a former soccer league official, a former soccer player, and a sports writer are among the ten members he has appointed to the board.

He further added that victims will receive compensation of around $4,230 from the government.

Indonesian human rights officer believes tear gas certainly caused the calamity

An Indonesian human rights official said just two exits were accessible in Kanjuruhan Stadium, where police fired tear gas into thousands of people’s stands, and that tear gas appeared to play a key role in the 125-person crush.

Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights will investigate the accident and police cooperation, said Mohammad Choirul Anam. Police say they were attacked and needed force. A government-appointed commission will investigate Monday.

Mr. Anam said violent videos exist. “Tear gas was utilised. How come?

Initial data implies tear gas contributed. It may have prevented a stampede. Human rights investigators will also study the stadium’s construction, victims’ locations, and injuries, said Mr. Anam. Arema lost to Persebaya Surabaya after 20 years. Arema’s president apologised Monday. President Gilang Widya Pramana remarked, “We’re sad.” “Many died?”

Mr. Pramana apologised to victims’ families, the soccer league, the police, and President Joko Widodo. The club would pay victims’ families, he said. Saturday’s mayhem was unexpected because no visiting fans battled Arema fans. After Arema’s defeat, fans stormed the field. Witnesses said cops used tear gas and batons to force fans towards small exits.

Mr. Pramana thanked them. “I was surprised that night.” Arema spokesperson Sudarmaji refuted oversold ticket allegations. Mr. Sudarmaji declined to answer questions about witness evidence that exits were blocked as the crowd fled tear gas.

Mr. Pramana said Arema players helped the injured and buried the dead in their changing room. “They’re shocked and unhappy,” he said.

Arema followers hold a weeklong vigil

Hundreds of Arema F.C. fans organised a weeklong vigil at Malang’s Gajayana Stadium to mourn the loss of over 125 spectators.

Some at the vigil attended Saturday’s game in Malang, when police fired tear gas, triggering a rush. Arema’s game against Persebaya Surabaya was packed. After Arema lost 3-2, fans swarmed the field. “One win can’t replace a thousand deaths,” claimed vigil banners. Old Arema Stadium had candles and flowers. Afterward, mourners sang and prayed.

Technician Tito Dwimauludi, 28, described the situation as “chaos” Few escapes and outside turmoil confined everyone. Only their eyes were injured by tear gas. “I hope this never happens again,” he said, adding that his wife and son waited at home.

Rafi Alfiansyah, 22, brought 10 companions. The tear gas-separated gang used WhatsApp to regroup. Alfiansyah left around 1 a.m. They were tear-gassed. Spicy. He said, “It stinks.” Two companions were hospitalised, he said.

He said, “We’re honouring Aremania.”

At Malang stadium, police tear gas was lethal in 2018

Police tear gas has murdered Arema F.C. fans in East Java before.

Four years ago, riot police sprayed the chemical at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang to end a soccer match disturbance.

At 2-2, Arema fans were angry over the referee’s calls. Fans fought with the referee in injury time, interrupting the game and prompting police to fire tear gas. Tear gas injured 214 in April 2018. The 16-year-old stated he couldn’t breathe and felt bewildered. His friend was stampeded, he claimed. He went home after declining the ambulance.

A week later, the 10th-grader had headaches and weakness. Swollen arms, neck. He was hospitalised on April 15 following the game. He was transferred to another ICU two days later. Dimas died of “Aremania”

No news mentioned if his death was probed or how police handled unrest. Monday, police didn’t comment on Dimas’ case.

Tribunnews.com, a local news website owned by Kompas, tweeted that Arema, the audience, the referee, or the tear gas-shooting officers shouldn’t be blamed.

News website: “Let’s improve.” “Die, Dimas!”

Families and Arema followers grieve and are angry

Indonesia: Dozens of family members waited nervously Sunday evening at the Saiful Anwar Hospital in Malang for news of relatives.

They rested on mats or seats with fruit and drink. Some were young. Relatives hurried to the emergency wing when a name was called.

The couple included Bambang Siswanto. They made their 19-year-old son watch the game at home. Gilang Putra Yuliazah, a technician and Arema fanatic, travelled with his cousin.

His son collapsed during the rush. 17-year-old cousin dies.

He took him home with his nephew’s body. “Cruel. Police are harsh.

Later that night, hundreds of Arema fans gathered at the Gajayana stadium for a vigil. Many wore black and held flowers, candles, and placards, including “Investigate fully #arema malang.”

Indonesian Soccer Tragedy
Indonesian Soccer Tragedy

“Mr. cop, Mr. policeman, your mission is to protect, not compete,” they sang.

Tito Dwimauludi, 28, survived the rush and attended the vigil.

He remarked, “I won’t watch football there again.” “May this never happen again”

Police security, and crowd management have failed the sport

Police used tear gas at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia.

Nico Afinta, East Java’s police commander, said cops had little choice due to disturbance. The disaster’s extent was unknown. Chief said to act. He said they’d attack police and smash cars.

The accusation that fans were to blame for another soccer disaster was readily discernible from the tragedy at Olembé Stadium in Cameroon in January and the near miss in May at the Champions League final in Paris.

In Port Said, Egypt, 74 supporters were killed in 2012, and in Sheffield, England, 97 Liverpool fans perished in 1989.

Soccer calamities aren’t caused by fan violence, but by overzealous and strong police who view a large crowd as a risk and turn a game into a hazard.

Owen West, a policing lecturer at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England, said it prioritises public order over safety. Self-fulfilling: “You see riot gear and crowd control munitions.”

He said police were “overzealous and over-resourced” in trying to “control” the crowd. “Police action often causes unrest,” he said.

Experts doubt the stadium tear gas usage

Human rights and policing experts have questioned police actions in the Indonesia soccer crush that killed at least 125 people, including the deployment of tear gas.

Gas, which produces extreme burning in the eyes, mouth, nose, lungs, and skin, is an indiscriminate weapon that may damage huge groups of people. Those who can won’t be immobilised.

Tear gas is unsafe to employ in guarded locations like a football stadium where people have nowhere to flee, says Owen West of Edge Hill University in Britain.

“Tear gas is highly harmful in this circumstance,” Mr. West remarked. “It’s a ranged weapon. The wall separates the mob from the cops. It disperses. If police utilise this technique, they should ask, “Where do we anticipate people to disperse?”

Tear gas has been a part in numerous stadium catastrophes when masses try to escape through restricted or shut exits. In its stadium safety standards, FIFA specifies no “crowd control gas” should be transported or utilised by stewards or police personnel.

Usman Hamid, Amnesty International’s Indonesia executive director, said tear gas “should only be used when widespread violence has happened and all approaches have failed.”

Mr. Hamid said the crowd should have been warned and let go. He said, “Tear gas shouldn’t be discharged in restricted places.”

The Indonesian supporters’ terrified reaction makes reasonable given the impact of tear gas, said Mr. West. Running away from anything that harms your breathing, eyesight, and health is a sensible option, he said.

The soccer world grieved Indonesian supporters

In honour of the at least 125 persons who died in Indonesia, soccer games were played on Sunday all around the world.

While Espanyol and Valencia waited for Sunday’s encounter to begin, soft music was playing in the background. The league released a video with the Indonesian flag superimposed on a blackened heart.

A minute of silence was held before Sunday’s games in the Dutch top league in honour of the fatalities in Indonesia.

“Deeply heartbroken” is an understatement for Liverpool, who lost 97 supporters in a stadium disaster in 1989. Liverpool Football Club has expressed its condolences to the victims.

An expert argues cops that prioritise order above safety might increase risk

A emphasis on public order rather than public safety at stadiums might cause police to overreact, an expert argues. Witnesses said tear gas caused a stampede at an Indonesian soccer match.

Owen West, a police professor at Edge Hill University in Britain, said policemen in riot gear and with crowd-control weapons may generate public pandemonium.

Extreme police zeal, equipment, and tactics tend to anger audiences worldwide, he said. “No more!”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered a soccer security inquiry.

Mr. West said the tear gas during the Malang match on Saturday night terrified everyone, troublemaker or not. “Dangerous,” he said. Mr. West said it’s important to know where people would rush if gas is spilled.

Mr. West said firing tear gas in Malang was risky since the stadium was full and exits were limited.

“Irresponsible,” he said.

This is the latest tragic soccer stadium incident

Sometimes crowd aggression triggers tragic stadium tragedies, which are typically made worse by incompetent police interventions that smother fleeing fans.

These fatal tragedies have led adjustments like phasing out fenced-in terraces in favour of seating-only stadiums. More than 125 were murdered by tramplings in Indonesia on Saturday.

Past calamities are listed here.

Peru – 1964

More than 300 people were killed in a riot in Lima, Peru, when a referee nullified Peru’s equalising goal in the last minutes of an Olympic qualification match against Argentina. Some supporters assaulted the Estadio Nacional pitch on May 24, 1964, and others threw items at police, who retaliated by deploying tear gas grenades and locking escape routes. Most were crushed in the tunnels, but police shot an unknown number.


The tragic crush at a Moscow-Dutch match on Oct. 20, 1982, was long kept secret. Official records only listed a few casualties until 1989, when at least 66 people were murdered and one Soviet tabloid said 340. First, football hooligans were blamed, but Soviet media subsequently reported police drove supporters out down a single tunnel at the Luzhniki Stadium, where they were crushed as others surged back in after hearing of a late Soviet score.


Local authorities and various news agencies blamed inebriated and boisterous Liverpool fans for the deaths of 97 soccer fans in Sheffield on April 15, 1989. In 2016, a British inquiry determined that the Hillsborough Stadium casualties were police errors. Survivors have waited decades for justice. This accident prompted safety modifications, including removing soccer field standing sections and railings.


On May 9, 2001, as Kumasi Asante Kotoko fans threw objects onto the field as their team fell behind Hearts of Oak, authorities shot tear gas into the bleachers, setting off a chaotic rush for the exits that killed 126 people. Ghana’s deputy sports minister told the BBC that he witnessed too many young guys dying from tear gas to count. He’s heartbroken.

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