Up to 127 Indonesian football fans are feared after mass riot broke out on top division pitch and armed police deploy tear gas
- Up to 127 football fans feared after riot broke out after field invasion
- Arema FC lost 3-2 at home to rivals Persebaya Surabaya in Indonesian competition
- Riot police confronted pitch invaders and started firing tear gas at the crowd
- Fans reportedly died from the stampede and inhaling the tear gas
Hundreds are feared dead after a riot broke out at the end of a football match in Indonesia.
Horrible scenes marred the full-time whistle of the BRI Liga 1 match as Arema FC lost 3-2 at home to local rivals Persebaya Surabaya on the main island of Java, a result that saw dozens of Artema fans take to the field.
Amid the violence on the pitch, riot police with batons immediately entered the pitch and fired tear gas both on the pitch and in the stands as the fans withdrew.
Poignant video shows fans climbing fences as they try to escape the smoke, which did not dissipate, with some falling to the ground, losing consciousness and being trampled under a stampede.
Reports suggest some fans were cornered by the tear gas and suffered from inhalation and lack of oxygen.
The death toll stands at 127, with two police officers and children among the dead. Another 180 were injured as a result of the field invasion and the actions that followed.
One hundred and twenty-seven people are feared after a riot broke out at the end of a football match in Indonesia on the main island of Java
Riot police immediately took the field to confront the football fans and started firing tear gas indiscriminately
The riots that broke out left 180 people injured, hundreds dead, and police vehicles destroyed near the field.
Arema stadium is located in the east of Java in the city of Kepanjen, 50 miles from rivals Persebaya Surabaya to the north
Further disturbing images appear to show rows of bodies turning blue in the hallways of a nearby hospital.
Local reports say hospitals are struggling with the number of dead and injured being brought in, and as a result, the death toll is rising all night.
More rioting broke out outside the stadium as tensions rose among supporters, cars were set on fire and rocks were thrown at passing vehicles.
Football association chief Mochamad Iriawan appeared to take some responsibility for the chaotic and heartbreaking scenes at the end of the match when he apologized “to the families of the victims and all parties”.
‘For that PSSI [Indonesian Football Association] immediately formed an investigation team and immediately left for Malang,” he said.
Post-match riots outside the stadium started as tensions mounted after the field invasion
Crowds of youth throw rocks at passing vehicles as riots broke out in the streets outside the stadium
The Arema fans were outraged by their late loss to major rivals Persebaya and the police action that followed the field invasion
The hotly contested Super East Java Derby had been a close match, with Arema pulling back Persebaya after trailing 2-0 on Saturday night.
But the heroic comeback was not to be as Arema had to concede a late goal to lose the match, leaving their fans furious.
The riots led to images of burnt-out police cars on the field after order was finally restored to the ground.
Akhmad Hadian Lukita, the chairman of PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB), said: “We are concerned and deeply regret this incident. We share our condolences and hopefully this is a valuable lesson for all of us.’
Meanwhile, the victorious Persebaya’s official Twitter account posted on Saturday night: “Persebaya’s extended family deeply mourns the loss of life after the Arema FC vs Persebaya match. No life is worth football. We pray for the victims and may give strength to the families left behind.’
The Indonesian football association PSSI suspects all competition matches for a week after the drama, while Arema is no longer allowed to organize home games for the rest of the season.