An Indonesian police chief and nine elite officers have been removed from their posts after at least 125 people were killed in a riot at a football match in Indonesia.
Thousands of Arema supporters invaded the pitch and threw bottles and other missiles at players and football officials after their side’s first home defeat by a rival club in 23 years, leading to clashes and the use of a crowd control chemical banned at stadiums by FIFA
Tear gas is banned at football stadiums by the international governing body FIFA.
A further 18 officers are also being investigated.
President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation of security procedures, and the president of world governing body FIFA, Gianni Infantino, called the deaths “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension”.
On Sunday, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told a news conference: “We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the tear gas as (fans) began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles.”
Some local officials had put the death toll at 174, but East Java Deputy Governor Emil Dardak said the number of fatalities had subsequently been revised down to 125.
“The earlier figure may have included duplicate fatalities,” he said.
More than 300 people were taken to nearby hospitals but many died on the way and during treatment, Mr Afinta said.
Grieving relatives waited for information about their loved ones at hospitals and others tried to identify bodies laid out at a morgue.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “The football world is in a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia at the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at the Kanjuruhan Stadium.
“This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident.
“Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured, together with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, the Asian Football Confederation, the Indonesian Football Association, and the Indonesian Football League, at this difficult time.”
Indonesia’s football association, known as PSSI, has suspended the premier league indefinitely in light of the tragedy and banned Arema from hosting matches for the rest of the season.
Malang police chief Ferli Hidayat said there were some 42,000 spectators at Saturday’s game, all of whom were Arema fans because the organiser had banned Persebaya fans from entering the stadium in an effort to avoid trouble.
Hooliganism is rife in the football-obsessed Indonesia where fanaticism often ends in violence, highlighted by the 2018 death of a Persija Jakarta supporter who was killed by a mob of hardcore fans from rival club Persib Bandung.