129 dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match
JAKARTA, Indonesia – A stampede killed more than 50 people at a soccer game between Indonesia’s national team and visiting Jordan in the world’s most-visited country on Sunday night, police said, when the game’s crowd and police faced the worst security problems since 2005 when the same team beat the same hosts, Jordan, 2 to 0.
The rioting saw fans run amok in the crowd, overturning a bus and smashing television screens, before a scuffle with police, said police spokesman Argo Yuwono. Police used tear gas and baton against people throwing stones and setting fire to cars.
In response, a group of more than 150 policemen marched onto the pitch, carrying a large wooden drum in order to disperse the rioters.
Police arrested a number of offenders, and the game resumed after a 20-minute pause, but the fans appeared to get the better of police again, running riot in the crowd again.
The game finished after 20 minutes when the players and several referees were carried off the field by riot police.
“They attacked the referee, and the referee didn’t move. The referees were arrested. The players were carried off the field by riot police,” said Tuan Matanang, police spokesman.
The game, which concluded in front of some 15,500 people, was the first for the national team since an incident at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when two players were sent off after a brawl. The team won that game and were crowned the world champions, but the team had to play a few qualifying matches on the way home because of a suspension.
The game will be played in a neutral venue on Saturday, after which the team will return to practice at home until the start of the Asian Cup on May 19.
The match, which broke out after a group of supporters walked onto the field during the halftime break, was also overshadowed by a dispute between police and the crowd.
As fans, many of whom were wearing black armbands and holding red flags, took over the pitch, shouting “This is for BNP,” B