In what was a terrifying moment of madness in the Indonesian Liga 1 on Saturday, October 1, 2022, the issue of pitch invasion have continued to threaten the beautiful game globally after the latest tragedy.
At least 175 people killed in Indonesia following 'horrific' fan riots
It was a 'horror show' in Indonesia as Angry fans stormed the pitch after the home team lost their league match on Saturday, leaving scores including children and police officers dead and others injured.
Arema FC fans invaded their home ground after the full-time whistle as the team lost 3-2 at home to their bitter derby rivals Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java, Indonesia.
The stampede was reportedly triggered by a scuffle between the security officials and angry fans who jumped onto the pitch after the scoreline was confirmed as the final result.
According to reports, panicked fans were trampled and crushed while trying to flee the scuffle after the police fired tear gas to control the crowd.
In the videos that have since gone viral on social media, fans can be seen jumping onto the pitch after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya.
The melee triggered a stampede and cases of suffocation as fans fled for an exit gate. East Java police chief Inspector Nico Afinta told reporters as per Reuters via Quint.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” Afinta said. "We would like to convey that... not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 entered the pitch," he said.
Viral video footage, played by local news channels, showed Arema FC fans making their way in numbers onto the pitch after the loss, tear gas in the air, and scenes of scuffles and stampede.
Videos on social media have also shown fans clambering over fences to escape following the scuffle.
The disturbing footages also appeared to show lifeless bodies on the floor and unconscious people being carried away by others following the stampede.
Via an Instagram post, Indonesia’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, said that the stadium was filled beyond its capacity, claiming that 42,000 tickets were issued for a stadium that capacity of 38,000 people.
Indonesian news agency Antara News earlier reported that 129 people, including two police officers, were killed and some 180 others injured, according to regional police chief Nico Afinta.
"In that incident, 127 people have died. Two of them are members of the police," Afinta said was quoted to have said.
The East Java authorities later updated that the number of deaths increased to 129.
Other publications, however, reported a much higher death toll. BBC reported that at least 174 people have died, while The Washington Post, cited a tweet from Arema FC, the home team, saying that the toll had risen to 182.
Investigations have already begun as Football matches have been suspended
The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) said it had launched an investigation saying that the the incident had "tarnished the face of Indonesian football,”
The Asian Football Confederation have offered condolences with its chief, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa¸ saying in a statement that he was “deeply shocked and saddened to hear such tragic news coming out of football-loving Indonesia.”
Indonesia’s human rights commission also said it had planned to investigate security at the stadium, including the use of tear gas, which is against the FIFA guidelines on safety. FIFA specifies that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.