Indonesian president visits city where stadium stampede killed 131 people

05 Oct 2022 02:36pm
Crowds gather to pay their respects to the victims of the football riots at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java on Monday. - EPA Photo
Crowds gather to pay their respects to the victims of the football riots at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java on Monday. - EPA Photo
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INDONESIA - Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived on Wednesday in the city of Malang, where a stadium stampede killed at least 131 people in one of the deadliest disasters in football history.

He greeted relatives of the victims after arriving at the Saiful Anwar hospital in the East Javan city.

He will then travel to the Kanjuruhan stadium, the scene of the disaster on Saturday evening, according to an official from the presidential office.

The Indonesian leader's visit came as anger grew over police officers' response to a pitch invasion after fans of Arema FC tried to approach players following their defeat to fierce rivals Persebaya Surabaya.

Police described the incident as a riot and said two officers were killed, but survivors accused them of overreacting.

Officers responded to the pitch invasion with force, kicking and hitting fans with batons, according to witnesses and video footage, pushing fans back into the stands where many would be trampled or suffocate to death after tear gas was fired.

In response to the tragedy, Widodo ordered all matches suspended, an investigation into what happened and compensation for victims.

Indonesia's chief security minister said a task force had been created and that the probe would take two to three weeks.

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Police said the investigation was focusing on six gates at the stadium using CCTV footage from cameras placed outside them. It said the exits were open but too small for the crowds attempting to pass through them.

The Malang police chief was replaced Monday, nine officers were suspended and 19 others were put under investigation over the disaster in the stadium, according to police. - AFP