MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — Panic at an Indonesian soccer match Saturday left 129 dead, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to dispel riots, making it one of the deadliest sports events in the world.Riots broke out after the game ended Saturday evening with host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city losing to Persebaya of Surabaya 3-2.
Disappointed after their team’s loss, thousands of supporters of Arema, known as “Aremania,” reacted by throwing bottles and other objects at players and soccer officials. Fans flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch in protest and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home games, this match ended in a loss, witnesses said.
The rioting spread outside the stadium where at least five police vehicles were toppled and set ablaze amid the chaos. Riot police responded by firing tear gas — which is banned at soccer stadiums by FIFA — that caused panic among the crowd.
Some suffocated and others were trampled as hundreds of people ran to the exit in an effort to avoid the tear gas. In the chaos, 34 died at the stadium, including two officers, and some reports include children among the casualties.
The death toll is likely to increase because many of the approximately 180 injured who are receiving intensive treatments at various hospitals were deteriorating, according to East Java Police chief Nico Afinta.
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