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Indonesian police under investigation after deadly stampede at football stadium

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Indonesian police under investigation after deadly stampede at football stadium

The toll of one of the worst tragedies in football history rose on Tuesday (October 4th) with six more dead who succumbed to their injuries after the deadly crowd movement at a stadium in Indonesia, bringing the toll to 131 dead. These six victims “have been sent back to their families”, said Wiyanto Wijoyo, an official with the health agency in Malang, where the tragedy took place. The health ministry said all the victims had been identified. He identified 68 seriously injured and 219 people with minor injuries. Investigators questioned Indonesian police officials on Tuesday, implicated by supporters after this tragedy. The government has suspended all matches in the national premier league and announced the launch of an investigation into the tragedy. It could last two to three weeks. The police chief of the province of East Java Island has apologized. “As regional police chief, I am concerned, saddened and at the same time I am sorry for the shortcomings within the security system,” Nico Afinta told a press conference. If the Indonesian Football Federation has begun to sanction the officials of the local club Arema FC – by banning for life on Tuesday two officials, Abdul Haris, leader of the club’s organizing committee, and a member of the security -, the majority of criticism centers on the police, who responded to the stampede with the use of large amounts of tear gas. In the face of public anger, the first sanctions fell on those found responsible for the deadly stampede in the stadium when police began spraying large quantities of tear gas to control the crowd, according to witnesses. Supporters of local club Arema FC set up a center in Malang on Monday to collect complaints and announced they were planning to prosecute police officers found responsible for targeting the spectators who were randomly trapped in the stands. “If there were riots, the tear gas should have been aimed at the field, not at the stands,” said Danny Agung Prasetyo, supporters coordinator for the Arema DC group. “There were many victims among those who were in the stands. They panicked from the tear gas. According to a supporter present in the center created in Malang, the fans of the Arema FC club will organize a large rally if no suspect is identified before the weekend. The city’s police chief was sacked on Monday and nine police officers suspended, while nineteen police officers were questioned about the disaster in the stadium, occupied only by Arema FC fans, the chief of the police said on Monday. national police, Dedi Prasetyo. The suspended officers belonged to the Mobile Squad (also known as “brimob”), a paramilitary police special operations unit known for its aggressive methods in crowd management. Read also: Deadly stampede in Indonesia: police officers sanctioned, NGOs call for an independent investigation “Our friends died here” The stands of the Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang were filled with thousands of young Aremania, Arema FC supporters who came to see, Saturday night, their team play against the rival team of Persebaya Surabaya, from the neighboring city. But, following the defeat of their team (2-3), the first in decades, fans took to the field to express their dissatisfaction with the players and managers. Police tried to control crowds on the pitch by force, with batons, according to witnesses and video footage, but this encouraged more supporters to come and lend a hand to those already on the pitch. Calls for an independent investigation grew as details of the bloody evening from Saturday to Sunday emerged. “There is no directive to fire tear gas and (…) to close [les portes] “Explained Tuesday at a press conference Albertus Wahyurudhanto, member of the Indonesian Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). In a sign of fans’ anger, carcasses of burnt-out police vehicles were visible outside the stadium and numerous graffiti appeared criticizing the police. “Our friends died here,” says one of them. New funeral vigils were planned for Tuesday after the laying of flowers and petals the day before in front of the stadium in tribute to the victims. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Indonesia, the role of the security forces in question after a tragedy at a football match Violence in Indonesian football is a long-standing problem and fans of the Persebaya Surabaya club had been banned for this match. But supporters claim not to be the cause of the tragedy. Indonesian officials said more tickets were sold than expected and, according to witnesses, some doors remained closed at the time of the stampede. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Indonesia, “violence on the sidelines of football matches is frequent” Le Monde with AFP

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