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Stampede, riot at Indonesia soccer match kill 129, police say

JAKARTA (Reuters) – At least 129 people were killed and about 180 injured as crowds poured into a soccer match in Indonesia during riots, police said on Sunday.

On Saturday night, when supporters of the losing home team stormed the pitch in East Java to express their displeasure, police fired tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, sparking a stampede and a case of suffocation, East officials said. Java Police Chief Niko Afinta told reporters. .

“There was chaos. They started attacking the police and damaging cars,” Nico said, adding that the crash occurred as fans fled to the exit gate.

After Arema FC lost to Persebaya Surabaya, video footage on a local news channel showed fans streaming onto the pitch of Malang’s stadium. A brawl is seen and what looks like tear gas is wafting through the air.

Images showed people appearing unconscious being carried away by other fans.

FIFA, the governing body of world football, stipulates in its safety regulations that stewards and police must not carry or use firearms or “crowd control gas”.

East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.

Indonesia’s human rights commission is planning to investigate security on the ground, including the use of tear gas, its commissioner told Reuters.

Mahfud MD, the country’s top security minister, said in an Instagram post that the stadium was full beyond capacity. He said he was issued 42,000 tickets for a stadium that was supposed to hold only 38,000.

Matches in Indonesia have been troubled, with violent rivalries between clubs sometimes leading to violence among supporters.

Indonesia’s Minister of Sports Zainuddin Amari told Compass TV that the ministry would reassess safety at football matches, including keeping spectators out of stadiums.

Indonesia’s top league BRI Liga 1 has suspended games for a week and an investigation has been launched, the Indonesian Football Association said.

In a global stadium disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death in the UK in April 1989. That’s when the overcrowded and fenced enclosure at his stadium in Sheffield’s Hillsborough collapsed.

Indonesia will host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May and June next year. They are also one of three countries bidding to host next year’s Asian Cup, which is the continent’s equivalent of euros, after China withdrew as the host nation.

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