Headline RoundupOctober 2nd, 2022

Stampede and Tear Gas Leave 125 Dead at Indonesian Soccer Stadium

AllSides Summary

A soccer match in Malang, Indonesia turned deadly after a clash between rival fans led riot police to fire tear gas in the stadium. Early reports state 125 people were killed and hundreds more injured. Most of the fatalities were the result of a stampede of people fleeing the stadium after the gas was fired, with many dying of suffocation or trampling.

The response of the police force, which many fans cited as the escalation that caused the deaths, has come under scrutiny from Indonesian President Joko Widodo and FIFA. Videos circulating on social media show police officers beating fans who had run onto the field after the game concluded. At a news conference on Sunday, East Java police chief Nico Afinta defended the police response to the fan brawl, stating “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.” FIFA security regulations prohibit the use of tear gas in stadiums, but the league has no control over domestic games. In response to the incident, FIFA has requested a report from the Football Association of Indonesia. Indonesia is scheduled to host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup next year.

The incident was covered widely on Sunday. Outlets across the spectrum used the term “hooliganism” to describe Indonesian soccer fans. Initial reports put the death toll at 174, then later revised to 125. Some headlines listed the original number instead of the revised one.

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