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Indonesia investigates elite officers as stadium disaster death toll rises | Football news

MALAN (Indonesia): Indonesian elite police officers were examined above a stadium on Tuesday rush killing 131 people, including dozens of children, in one of the deadliest disasters in football history.
As public anger grew, police began punishing those responsible for the crush in the city of Malang, which witnesses say began when officers fired tear gas into packed stands to quell a pitch invasion.
“As the regional chief of police, I am concerned, saddened and at the same time sorry for the shortcomings in the security process.” East Java Police chief Nico Afinta said this at a press conference on Tuesday.
The terraces of the Kanjuruhan Stadium Saturday night were packed with 42,000 “Aremania”, or Arema FC fans, for a match against fierce rivals Persebaya Surabaya.
But after a 3-2 loss, their opponents’ first home loss in more than two decades, fans flocked to the field to confront players and management.
Police described the incident as a riot and said two officers were killed, but survivors accused them of overreacting.
Officers violently responded to the field invasion by kicking and beating fans with batons, according to witnesses and video footage, causing more fans to take to the field.
“If there was a riot,[tear gas]should be fired on the pitch, not in the stands,” Danny Agung Prasetyo, coordinator of Arema DC supporters group, told AFP.
The death toll rose again on Tuesday with local health official Wiyanto Wijoyo telling AFP that six more victims had succumbed to their injuries.
Indonesian officials said 4,000 more tickets had been allocated for the match than should have been, while some of the stadium’s doors appeared to be closed, according to witnesses.

Indonesia: At least 125 killed in riots, stampede at football match

Indonesia: At least 125 killed in riots, stampede at football match

That meant that physically stronger supporters had to climb over large fences to escape the chaos, while the most vulnerable were left at the mercy of the crowd as tear gas rained down.
“The doors were closed, so people pushed. Some lay in the corner” near a locked gate to try to escape, a 16-year-old survivor of the chaos told AFP.
Malang’s police chief was replaced on Monday, nine officers were suspended and 19 others were investigated following the disaster at the stadium, which was filled with only Arema FC fans, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.
He said the suspended members were members of the Mobile Brigade Corps, or Brimob, a unit that serves as the Indonesian police’s special operations paramilitary unit and is notorious for its aggressive crowd-control tactics.
The Indonesian Football Association also moved on Tuesday to punish Arema FC, ban the chairman of the organizing committee and a security official for life and fine the club 250 million rupiah ($16,000) for the tragedy.

Arema FC fans set up an outside stall in Malang on Monday to receive legal complaints.
They said they would file a lawsuit against officers for causing what they believe were dozens of deaths by aiming indiscriminately at spectators on enclosed patios.
The Indonesian government has suspended the country’s national football league and announced a task force to investigate the tragedy.
It said the probe would last two to three weeks.
Calls for an independent investigation have increased since details of the stampede emerged this weekend.
“There is no instruction to fire tear gas and there is no instruction to lock the door,” Albertus Wahyurudhanto, a commissioner for the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), told a news conference on Tuesday.

Fans’ anger was shown outside the stadium where a police car was set on fire and the walls were plastered with graffiti reading “Tear gas vs mother’s tears” and “Our friends died here”.
More vigils were planned in Malang on Tuesday, after Arema FC fans and players gathered outside the stadium the day before to lay flowers and pray for the victims.
The dead included 32 children, an official from the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection told AFP, adding that the youngest was three or four years old.
FIFA’s safety guidelines prohibit the use of crowd control gas by police or stewards on the pitch.
Gianni Infantino, chairman of football’s global governing body, called the tragedy a “dark day” for football, while Brazilian superstar Pele expressed his condolences, saying that “violence and sport don’t mix”.

The Olympic Council of Asia held a minute of silence on Tuesday during its board meeting in Cambodia.
Violence by football fans is a persistent problem in Indonesia, and supporters of Persebaya Surabaya were barred from participating in the match as a result.
But fans said they were not to blame.
Everything that could go wrong at a football game seemed to do so on Saturday night, culminating in an unprecedented disaster in an Indonesian stadium.
“You could see and feel that something bad could possibly happen. That’s the kind of fear you usually get when you travel here to a game,” Indonesian football expert Pangeran Siahaan told AFP.
“Every time you enter a football stadium in Indonesia, there are many dangers.”



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