Indonesia: Football Match Stampede Claims Over 174 Lives

At least 174 people have died in a stampede at an Indonesian football match, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

The unfortunate incident happened after police tear-gassed supporters who invaded the pitch late on Saturday.

About 180 people were injured in a rush after local team Arema FC lost 2-3 to bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya in East Java.

The country’s chief security minister declared that the spectators exceeded the stadium’s 38,000 capacity by around 4,000 people.

President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be halted until an investigation has been concluded.

Videos reporting the event show fans running onto the pitch after the final whistle.

Police then fired tear gas which led to a crowd stampede and cases of suffocation, said Nico Afinta, police chief in East Java.

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” he said, adding that two police officers were among the dead.

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“We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he said.

Fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, he added.

Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.

Fifa, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.