An Indonesian stadium tragedy
Islam News – At least 125 people died when soccer fans rushed the field after a professional soccer match in Malang, Indonesia, on Saturday. Many were trampled.
The police fired tear gas into the tightly packed crowds, leading to a stampede. Survivors said that the gas was fired indiscriminately into the stands, forcing the overcapacity crowd to rush for the exits. Many are angry at the police response, which observers said had made the situation worse.
“If there wasn’t any tear gas shot into the stands, there would have not been any casualties,” one man said, adding that people had “panicked” and rushed to the field to save themselves. When he tries to sleep, he said, he still hears people screaming.
Reaction: Rights organizations condemned the use of tear gas, which is prohibited by FIFA, soccer’s global governing body. One policing expert said that using tear gas, which is designed to disperse crowds, in secure areas where people have nowhere to go is “incredibly, incredibly dangerous.”
Analysis: The combination of large crowds and aggressive policing can prove disastrous, writes Rory Smith, my colleague who covers soccer, in an analysis. When tragedies occur, he writes, “they tend to be the consequence not of fan violence but of failures of policing, security and crowd management.”
Background: Soccer violence has long been a problem for Indonesia, where violent rivalries between major teams are common. Worldwide, Saturday’s match was among the deadliest episodes in the history of the sport.
Source: The New York Times