At least 174 were killed in a stampede after Football Riot Broke Out in Indonesia at Kanjuriyan stadium, according to many has sadly come as no surprise in Indonesia whereas experts have stated archaic policing practices mixed with Indonesia’s violent fan culture produced a horrific deadly tragedy that no football supporter should have to worry about while attending a match.
I’d like to start this article off by offering my condolences to the friends and families of all of those who lost their lives on October 1st, 2022 during the horrific disaster at the Kanjuriyan stadium in Milan Indonesia.
May your loved ones rest in peace on top of this a speedy recovery to all of those who were injured, and strength to those who will have to live with these memories for the rest of their lives.
This stadium disaster will be remembered alongside the likes of hazel Hillsborough Estadio Nacional in Peru and the Accra sports stadium disaster in Ghana amongst others.
at the time of writing this blog over 174 people have already lost their lives 32 of which officials claim were minors, scores more are hospitalized or recovering from their wounds, and some are in critical condition Indonesian National Police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo says the number of casualties is expected to rise even higher.
Why Football Riot Broke Out in Indonesia?
some context on Indonesian football fan culture is helpful but I won’t go crazy into detail when there are some incredible videos and full-length documentaries on YouTube such as this one from the Australian broadcasting network ABC titled inside the world’s most dangerous Football League I’ve linked that below.
I highly recommend you watch this ABC does an incredible job on this documentary which takes an in-depth look at fan violence and how it has grown within the country over the decades.
How it had only continued to escalate as they say in the video which was posted in 2019, 74 people died because of football-related violence since 1994 but of course, since that video was published more had died with some experts saying that had moved Beyond 80.
Combined with the tragedy from the beginning of October 2022 that has now been catapulted at far over 200 people dying because of football-related events in Indonesia.
The idea that you get is that some Indonesian supporters and I say some because there are those who are purely about football as well but some have embraced the violent side of being Ultra harkening back to the dark years of you know English football’s hooligan culture for example but amped up to another level in some respects.
James Piotr Montague is a British writer and also an expert on fan culture worldwide with Indonesia building a reputation since the 90s for boasting one of the most intense fan cultures in the world James Montague spent plenty of time in Southeast Asia country studying the movement.
There’s the good side, he says, the devotion of those who love to support their club with Incredible fan choreography in the stands, and, of course, those who are more interested in seeing football as a justification for the violence.
The East Java Darby between Arema Malang and Persebaya Surabaya is one of the country’s biggest rivalries someone often banned given fans of islands had become commonplace in the stands in Indonesia visiting supporters from attending away matches in order to avoid fighting in the stands.
How Football Riot Broke Out in Indonesia
on Saturday Arima hosted Persebaya at the Kanjuriyan stadium and with the visiting side winning 3-2 supporters of Arima funneled onto the pitch to speak with their players that’s putting it kindly actually, some select supporters didn’t go down to discuss tactics but to demand answers as to why they had lost the match.
Some took it over the top by throwing objects at both players and match officials alike outside of the stadium supporters who had headed for the exits early began flipping police vehicles and even setting them on fire.
Riot police responded to the heightened tensions in both The Terraces and on the areas of the pitch that had been invaded with harsh violence beating and kicking those who ran onto the pitch and of course, shooting tear gas everywhere.
Tear gas and the policeman’s actions exacerbated things a little bit later as they shot tear gas into the stands that of course caused Widespread Panic in The Terraces and a stampede toward the exits where ABC says that 34 people were trampled in a stampede or suffocated in the Crush immediately.
Archaic Policing OverCrowding & Banned chemicals.
Montague pulled no punches when speaking to German publication D.W Deutsche Welle saying it was no surprise as the quote.
“Terrible organization terrible facilities terrible policing and a culture of violence within certain sections of the fan culture it was a disaster waiting to happen the police are not equipped or skilled in dealing with crowds in any way so they resort to brutal violence and archaic crowd control as we see here.”
Another report from The New York Times highlights how according to a senior lecturer on policing at Edgehill University Mr. Owen West the police of this event and unfortunately at many other football events in the country focus on establishing order rather than ensuring safety for attendees.
West claims that having police officers in full riot gear equipped with crowd control chemicals can actually exacerbate the situation saying quote it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Fifa Has Banned the Use of Tear Gas Inside the Stadium
speaking of crowd-controlling chemicals such as tear gas FIFA has banned these from football matches for the exact reasons that we saw go down in Milan.
Panic and inevitably injuries or death can only follow back to Montague’s quote obviously the fans got onto the pitch but it was a containable situation.
Until the police poured petrol on the fire by firing tear gas in quantities that I’ve never seen before quantities which sting suffocate and create mass panic anyone who knows anything about football crowd control knows that if you fire tear gas into confined spaces, it will lead to deaths.
Many say that had, the riot police prioritize protecting the players and officials from the supporters on the pitch as quickly as possible prioritizing escorting them off of the pitch instead this all could have been avoided.
But they came charging out at the supporters with clubs in hand flying through the air kicking them beating them when they were on the ground and of course shooting insane amounts of tear gas into The Terraces and onto the pitch a recipe for Chaos.
on top of this many reports point to the football stadium in Indonesia not being suitable for live events of this nature with plenty of exits either locked or blocked by parked cars outside causing even more danger.
in the GW article, Montague recalls arriving at games in Indonesia where thousands of fans are funneled through narrow gateways resulting in crushes among decrepit facilities at Old stadiums the Indonesian security minister also said that on top of this a minimum of 42 000 people were in the stadium despite the official capacity being 38 000.
All of these elements led to this tragedy, yes the fan culture doesn’t help as rushing on the pitch is what caused the reaction from the police I understand but said the reaction wasn’t a good one from the police Either.
It was a deadly one leading to a tragic staggering death toll plenty of lives lost and others ruined Indonesian football has taken a break.
Arema has also been banned from hosting matches for the rest of the Football season. Further sanctions could follow.
Hopefully, Indonesian Federation & Government will also take action to change police practices and address Stadium issues, and finally let’s hope this never happens again.
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