Indonesia president orders authorities to stop Liga 1 matches until probe into incident wraps up.
At least 129 people have been killed and 180 others injured after a stampede at a football match in Indonesia.
The incident, which is being seen as one of the world’s worst stadium disasters, took place on Saturday night in East Java province’s Malang after Arema FC lost to Persebaya Surabaya.
East Java police chief Nico Afnita said supporters of the losing home team invaded the football pitch and tried to express their frustration.
Video footage on local television channels showed fans pouring onto the pitch.
Riot police fired tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering a stampede and cases of suffocation, he added. Scuffles were seen on the pitch as tear gas smoke filled the air.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” he said, adding that the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.
According to the head of one of the nearby hospitals which was treating the injured, some of the victims sustained brain injuries and the dead included a five-year-old child, reported Metro TV.
Mahfud MD, Indonesia’s chief security minister, said in an Instagram post that the stadium had been filled beyond capacity.
He added that 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium that is only supposed to hold 38,000 people.
East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa told reporters that financial aid would be given to the injured and the families of victims.
Fifa, the world football governing body, in its safety regulations states that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.
East Java police have not yet issued a statement on whether they were aware of the regulations.
However, Indonesia’s human rights commission has said that an investigation into security at the ground will be conducted, including the use of tear gas, reported Reuters.
After the incident, Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 has suspended games for a week, Football Association of Indonesia said.
It added that an investigation had been also been launched.
Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has ordered authorities to stop Liga 1 matches until the probe wraps up.
He has also directed authorities to investigate security at football matches.
In 1989, 97 people had died and hundreds were injured in a crush of fans at the overcrowded Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England.
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