PHOTO ESSAY: Deadly stampede at Indonesian football match

The death toll is likely to increase in wake of the stampede and riot at Kanjuruhan Stadium in eastern city of Malang.

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Police officers fire tear gas during clashes at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. [Yudha Prabowo/AP Photo]

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At least 125 people have been killed in a stampede at a football stadium in Indonesia’s eastern city of Malang, one of the deadliest sports disasters in the world.

The death toll was revised down to 125, according to East Java Vice Governor Emil Dardak, who said that some names were recorded twice. Earlier officials had put the figure as high as 174.

Riots broke out after the game ended on Saturday evening, with host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city losing to Persebaya of Surabaya 3-2.

Disappointed after their team’s loss, thousands of Arema supporters, known as “Aremania,” reacted by throwing bottles and other objects at players and football officials. Fans flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch in protest and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home games, this match ended in a loss, witnesses said.

The rioting spread outside the stadium where at least five police vehicles were toppled and set ablaze amid the chaos. Riot police responded by firing tear gas, including towards the stadium’s stands, causing panic among the crowd. Tear gas is banned at football stadiums by FIFA.

Some fans suffocated and others were trampled as hundreds of people ran to the exit in an effort to avoid the tear gas. In the chaos, 34 died at the stadium, including two officers, and some reports include children among the casualties.

“We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the tear gas as [fans] began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles,” said East Java Police chief Nico Afinta in a news conference early on Sunday.

Afinta said the death toll is likely to increase because many of the approximately 180 injured who are receiving intensive treatments at various hospitals are in critical condition.

Indonesia’s football association, PSSI, has suspended the premier football league Liga 1 indefinitely in light of the tragedy and banned Arema from hosting football matches for the remainder of the season.

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Fans storm the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium after Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city lost to Persebaya of Surabaya 3-2. [Yudha Prabowo/AP Photo]

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Security officers detain a fan. Riots broke out after the game ended on Saturday evening. [Yudha Prabowo/AP Photo]
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Indonesian army and police securing the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium. [AFP]
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Riot police responded by firing tear gas, including toward the stadium’s stands, causing panic among the crowd. Tear gas is banned at football stadiums by FIFA. [H. Prabowo/EPA]
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Damaged police vehicles on the pitch inside Kanjuruhan Stadium. [Sandi Sadewa/EPA]
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Officers examine a damaged police vehicle at Kanjuruhan Stadium. [Yudha Prabowo/AP Photo]

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Bodies of victims of the stadium stampede at the Saiful Anwar Hospital in Malang. [Trisnadi/AP Photo]
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A victim’s relative cries as she waits at the Saiful Anwar Hospital in Malang. [Trisnadi/AP Photo]
Indonesia Soccer Deaths
Medical workers identify one of the victims of a football match stampede. [Trisnadi/AP Photo]
Indonesia Soccer Deaths
At least 125 people died, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to dispel riots, making it one of the deadliest sports events in the world. [Rizki Dwi Putra/Reuters]

SOURCE: ALJAZERA