129 dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match during mass protests
More than 100 Indonesians have been killed in a violent stampede and stampede resulting from thousands of fans staging a mass protest against alleged corruption on Sunday.
The crush triggered in the stadium as players and referees made their way out the door prompted a stampede that left more than 100 people dead, including spectators. More than 4,000 were injured.
The stampede was triggered by the departure of players and referees from the match in Indonesia’s national soccer association to protest alleged corruption ahead of the country’s first-ever general election.
Players and referees were among the fans of national soccer team side, Persirama, who gathered across from the stadium to rally against the government over what they said was the lack of transparency in the election process.
Indonesia’s government is under pressure to open up the voting process ahead of the March 17 election to avoid a repeat of a scandal that rocked the country’s democratic transition after the 2006-2008 financial crisis.
“This is a tragic case in Indonesia, how to handle this crisis,” President Joko Widodo told reporters after the game. “We’re still going about this problem. You can’t handle this crisis by yourself.”
Widodo said the tragedy was the result of fans’ anger over a series of scandals that have dogged the president’s government over the past decade.
“These fans have lost their lives today,” he said.
“I deeply apologize to families,” he added. “I deeply apologize to the people of Indonesia.”
The president’s top spokesman, Rudawatwo, who earlier said he had resigned to avoid appearing before the authorities, told reporters he will not be charged.
“There is no cause for him to be charged,” he said.
The death toll included those who died at the stadium or in hospital, police and the city commissioner for Medan, who later died after reportedly being trapped by fans as protesters tried to surround him.
The police had said they were responding to reports of a riot, but reports by The Jakarta Post and other media