129 dead at Indonesian soccer match after police fire tear gas, causing clashing fans to stampede

Panic at an Indonesian soccer match after police fired tear gas to stop brawls left 129 dead, mostly trampled to death, police said Sunday.

Police tried to break up brawls between rival supporters before disaster, police chief says

Panic at an Indonesian soccer match after police fired tear gas to stop brawls left 129 dead, mostly trampled to death, police said Sunday.

Several fights between supporters of the two rival soccer teams were reported inside the Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java province's Malang city after the Indonesian Premier League game ended with Persebaya Surabaya beating Arema Malang 3-2.

The brawls that broke out just after the game ended late night Saturday prompted riot police to fire tear gas, which caused panic among supporters, said East Java Police Chief Nico Afinta.

Hundreds of people ran to an exit gate in an effort to avoid the tear gas. Some suffocated in the chaos and others were trampled, killing 34 almost instantly.

More than 300 rushed to hospital

More than 300 were rushed to nearby hospitals to treat injuries but many died on the way and during a treatment, Afinta said.

He said the death toll is likely still increasing, since many of about 180 injured victims' conditions were deteriorating.

There have been previous outbreaks of trouble at matches in Indonesia, with a strong rivalry between clubs sometimes leading to violence among supporters.

Zainudin Amali, Indonesia's sports minister, told KompasTV the ministry would re-evaluate safety at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.

The Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 has suspended games for a week following the match, the Football Association of Indonesia said.

Indonesia is to host the FIFA under-20 World Cup in May and June next year. It is also one of three countries bidding to stage next year's Asian Cup, the continent's equivalent of the Euros, after China pulled out as host.

With files from Reuters

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