The balance sheet is likely to continue to increase. On Saturday, a stampede during the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya resulted in the death of 125 people, including 32 children. The crowd movement also left more than 300 injured, some of whom are between life and death in hospitals in the city of Malang, in the east of the island of Java. “According to the latest data we have, out of 125 people who have died, 32 are children, the youngest of whom is two or three years old.“, told AFP Nahar, an official of the Ministry of Women and Child Protection. In the face of public anger, the first sanctions fell on Monday with the dismissal of the police chief of the city of Malang, Ferli Hidayat, and the suspension of nine police officers, according to national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.
Security Minister Mahfud MD had earlier called on the Indonesian police to “identify” The people who “perpetrated the crimes“, and to crack down.”If it hadn’t been for tear gas, there might have been no chaos“, said Choirul Anam, a member of the National Commission for Human Rights, during a briefing. Saturday night’s drama at the Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang took place when fans of the local team Arema FC entered the field after the defeat of their team (3 to 2) against that of Persebaya Surabaya, the neighboring city.
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Police responded by firing volleys of tear gas into the crowded stands of the stadium, full with 42,000 spectators present, authorities said. Onlookers then rushed en masse to narrow doorways where many were trampled on and choked, witnesses said. Police, two of whose officers were killed in the tragedy, described the incident as a “riot”. But the survivors accuse him of having overreacted and caused the death of more than a hundred spectators. “Some must be accountable. Who should be condemned?“said Andika, who declined to give her last name.”We demand justice for our missing supporters“, asked the 25-year-old Malang football fan.
“A Great Cemetery”
A witness assured that the police refused to intervene at the time of the fatal crowd movement. “The place looked like a big cemetery. Women and children piled on top of each other“, explained Eko Prianto, 39, to AFP. “I rushed to the police and soldiers for help. There was no rescuer in sight. The police did not help and a soldier threatened to beat me“.
Families gather after the tragedy in Malang.
Credit: Getty Images
National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said investigators were analyzing CCTV footage to identify “suspects who carried out destruction“. They also questioned 28 police officers, in particular about the use of tear gas canisters. On television, the president of the Malang football club, Gilang Widya Pramana, presented his apologies on Monday, in tears. His team visited the site of the drama on Monday, its members dressed in black T-shirts to pay their respects to the victims and lay flowers, before gathering in the field for prayers.
An independent investigation called for
Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Sunday the opening of an investigation. On Monday, he promised the payment of compensation to the families of victims of 50 million rupees (3,200 dollars). But several human rights groups have demanded an independent investigation and that the police explain the use of tear gas in a confined space. “These losses of human life cannot go unanswered“, Amnesty International said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch called on the International Football Federation (FIFA) to conduct its own investigation and make it public. FIFA President Gianni Infantino called the tragedy “tragedy beyond imagining“. Minister Mahfud MD said that the members of the commission of inquiry would be chosen from among members of the government, analysts, football officials, media and academics. “Authorities will announce the results of the investigation as soon as possible,” he clarified, considering that “the mission could be concluded in the next two or three weeks“.
Credit: Getty Images
Feeling of anger
Fan violence has been a long-standing problem in Indonesia, where club rivalries have often resulted in deadly clashes. For Saturday’s game, Persebaya Surabaya fans were not allowed to buy tickets for fear of incidents.
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