WASHINGTON - At least 127 people died and 180 others were injured in a riot at an East Java, Indonesia, football stadium Saturday night.
East Java Police Chief Nico Afinta told reporters that "127 people died, including two police. Thirty-four were killed inside the stadium. Mostly trampled to death."
Afinta said the Indonesia premier league game ended with Persebaya beating Arema 3-2. He said Arema had never lost a match like this, so Arema supporters - known as Aremania - entered the field to chase the Arema players and team.
The police chief said, "Police officers tried to persuade the Aremania to return to the stands but were ignored. We do not know why the crowd became increasingly anarchic, and finally attacked the police too. Finally, police fired tear gas at the crowd."
Hundreds of supporters of each team ran to exit gates to avoid the tear gas, but some were suffocated and trampled. Hundreds of the injured were rushed to nearby hospitals, but many of them died on the way or during treatment.
The angry crowd also burned 13 police cars and trucks.
Indonesian Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told VOA that his team will fly from Jakarta to Malang, East Java, to help local police. "The East Java Regional Police are working with New Indonesian League (LIB) as the match operator, and also some related state holders. The National Police Team will leave for Malang this afternoon to back up the East Java Regional Police, to help identify the victims and provide medical assistance to hundreds of injured victims in several hospitals."
Indonesia's minister of youth and sports, Zainuddin Amali, told reporters in Jakarta that he "has asked Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and New Indonesian League (LIB) to investigate this incident.
The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Mohammad Mahfud Mahmodin, commonly known as Mahfud MD, said in an Instagram post Sunday that the number of spectators exceeded the capacity of the Kanjuruhan stadium.
"The apparatus had asked the organizer to hold the match in the afternoon (not at night), and said the number of spectators must be adjusted to the stadium's capacity of 38,000 people. But the proposals were not carried out... the match was still held at night and the number of tickets sold was 42,000."