129 killed, over 180 injured at soccer game in Indonesia

In what appears to be one of the world’s worst stadium disasters, at least 129 people were killed and over 180 more were injured at a soccer game in Indonesia following a stampede caused by a riot, according to Indonesian police.

After the match in East Java province between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended on Saturday night, supporters from the losing team invaded the pitch and police fired tear gas, triggering a stampede and cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told state reporters.

People were seen rushing onto the field of the stadium in Malang in video footage from stateTV channels, along with pictures of body bags.

In Indonesia, there have been previous incidents of unrest at sporting events, with fervent rivalries between teams sometimes fueling violence among fans.

Zainudin Amali, Indonesia’s sports minister, told state media the ministry would re-evaluate safety at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.

The Indonesian top league, BRI Liga 1, has suspended games for a week following the match that Persebaya won 3-2,3-2, and an investigation had been launched, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) said.

96 Liverpool fans were killed in Britain in April 1989 when a fenced-in, overcrowded enclosure at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield collapsed, making it one of the worst stadium tragedies.

Next year, in May and June, Indonesia will host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. They are also one of three nations bidding to host the Asian Cup, the continent’s equivalent of the Euros, after China withdrew as the hosts.

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