Indonesia: At least 174 people killed after riot at football match

At least 174 people have been killed after a riot at a football match in Indonesia.

The violence broke out at a stadium in East Java during a game between Arema and Persebaya Surabaya.

Chaos broke out after Persebaya Surabaya won 3-2 – and according to local reports, thousands of Arema fans went on to the pitch after their team lost.

It is also claimed that several Arema players who were still on the field at the time were attacked.

A stampede began when the police fired tear gas into the crowd.

Images showed people who appeared to be unconscious being carried away by other fans.

In what appears to be one of the world’s worst stadium disasters, more than 300 people were rushed to nearby hospitals, but many died on the way or in treatment.

East Java police chief Nico Afinta said in a news conference early on Sunday: “We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the tear gas as (fans) began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles.”

Some of the victims have sustained brain injuries – and one doctor told local media that a five-year-old was among those who had died.

A local health official said many of the victims died of “chaos, overcrowding, trampling and suffocation”.

Two of those killed at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang are reportedly police officers.

FIFA regulations state that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by the police.

Indonesia’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, has said on social media that the stadium was filled beyond capacity.

While the sporting venue is only supposed to hold 38,000 people, he claimed 42,000 tickets had been issued.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his deep condolences for the dead in televised comments on Sunday.

“I deeply regret this tragedy and I hope this is the last soccer tragedy in this country. Don’t let another human tragedy like this happen in the future,” he said. “We must continue to maintain sportsmanship, humanity and a sense of brotherhood of the Indonesian nation.”

Indonesia’s football league had said games would be suspended for a week – but Mr Widodo has ordered all matches to be postponed until the investigation is concluded.

Arema has also been banned from hosting matches for the rest of the season. Further sanctions could follow.

There have been previous outbreaks of trouble at matches in Indonesia, with a strong rivalry between clubs sometimes sparking violence between supporters.

Justinus Lhaksana, a former coach for Indonesia’s national futsal team, told Sky News: “This is the not first time we have had deadly casualties. But usually it’s one or two people who die after a match.

“I’m very sad the right solution was not found way before this happened.”

Mr Lhaksana claims fans in Indonesia enter the pitch “almost every weekend”, and such disturbances have been going on for years.

“This is not a clash between two rivalries – this is just a clash between disappointed fans and police.”

The commentator said it is not acceptable that fans are able to go on football pitches after matches, and warned security measures must be tightened.

He expressed hope that such an incident will never happen again.

The chair of the country’s football association, Mochamad Iriawan, has apologised to families of the victims.

He added that the incident “really tarnishes the face of Indonesian football”.

More than a dozen vehicles were set alight within the grounds of the stadium, and many of them were police cars.

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