At least 127 dead, 180 wounded in mass riot at Arema VS Persebaya soccer match

Arema fans flooding the pitch after their team lost to arch rivals Persebaya on Oct. 1, 2022. Photo: Video screengrab
Arema fans flooding the pitch after their team lost to arch rivals Persebaya on Oct. 1, 2022. Photo: Video screengrab

At least 127 people were killed in a mass riot at Kanjuruhan Stadium, East Java in what has undoubtedly become the darkest day in the history of Indonesian soccer.

Arch rivals Arema FC of Malang hosted Surabaya’s Persebaya on Saturday evening in Indonesia’s premier soccer league, Liga 1. 

At around 10pm, after the match ended 2-3 in favor of the visitors, livid home fans reportedly flooded the pitch in protest.

Police fired tear gas — which is banned at soccer stadiums by FIFA — while at least five police vehicles were toppled and set ablaze amid the chaos.

Some were reportedly crushed in a stampede as supporters rushed to leave Kanjuruhan. The rioting continued outside the stadium into the early hours of Sunday morning until the crowds were eventually dispersed.

East Java Police Chief Inspector General Nico Afinta said this morning that 127 people have been confirmed dead, 34 of whom died in the stadium. Two of the deceased were cops, while there were reports that children were among the casualties.

Some 180 people were wounded and are receiving intensive treatments at various hospitals.

PSSI, Indonesia’s soccer association, has suspended Liga 1 for one week in light of the tragedy and banned Arema from hosting soccer matches for the remainder of the current season. More sanctions may follow as police conduct an investigation into the mass riot.

Hooliganism is rife in soccer-obsessed Indonesia despite the country’s lack of international accolades in the sport. The fanaticism often lends towards violence and sometimes death — one of the most recent cases being the death of a Persija Jakarta fan, who was killed by a mob of hardcore fans of rival club Persib Bandung in 2018.

More updates to follow.

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