Indonesian Stampede in Soccer Match Leaves 125 Dead

How the most anticipated event turned into a deadly nightmare.


via Wikimedia Commons

A small vigil for the victims of the Kanjuruchan disaster.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, devoted fans of the Indonesian-based soccer team Arema FC took over the Kanjuruhan Stadium, eager for a fun night of entertainment. Unfortunately, what started as an innocent sports event resulted in a deadly riot that left 125 people dead.

According to the Washington Post, the passionate fans became extremely upset after a surprising win from the opposing team, Persebaya Surabaya, who had been on a continuous losing streak against Arema FC. As a result, a flood of fans bombarded the field, where they were met with tear gas and physical force by police officers. In a frantic state, many people began to trample each other to escape the stadium.

The Washington Post highlighted a young survivor’s experience from the riot, where he detailed how he barely made it out of the stadium, suffering a leg injury from the tear gas. Many other witnesses commented how they came in contact with tear gas, also noting how they did not realize things would get to that point on such an exciting occasion.

Despite the emphasis on the soccer riot, many have begun pointing their attention to the brutal actions of the police officers. 

According to the Washington Post, the abusive power of police officers during such events has been an ongoing issue in Indonesia. For years, protestors have experienced the brute force of police officers from the re-election of President Joko Widodo to young babies put in the crossfire during an organized student demonstration. 

As of now, police forces in Indonesia have caused yet another travesty. 

The Washington Post detailed how experts have noted that there are many police officers with little to no training on how to deal with crowds, many of which are based in military combat.

Many faculty and students had much to say concerning the behavior of the police officers during the soccer riot.

Associate Professor of Economics Natalya Shelkova stated while the fleeing was disoriented, the police actions were extremely unprofessional.

“Obviously their leadership and communication were not effective,” Professor Shelkova said.

Others offered their condolences and how terrified they were of how such an event could result in such a disaster.

Junior Victoria Pigford stated how she was saddened by the large number of people who lost their lives during this event.

“It’s truly scary to think that many fans came to have a good time. Life is so unpredictable.”

“It is very sad first of all because not only adults but children died in the horrendous event. There is no excuse for the lost lives, it is just wrong,” said Shelkova.

According to AP News, the Kanjuruchan disaster has now become a part of the world’s deadliest crowd disasters. 

Professor Shelkova had some final thoughts pertaining to the culture of sports and how it affects the fans in general.

“Overall, I have observed that the sports fans’ increasingly become violent all across the globe, and it was the case this time too. Which is unfortunate, because participation in sports should be an act of peaceful competition.”