125 People are Dead After an Indonesian Soccer Match Turns Violent


The stampede on the field.

On Oct 2, 2022, at Kanjuruhan Stadium, at least 125 people were killed after a 3-2 loss turned violent. Many people attribute the loss of life to the police’s illegal use of tear gas, panic, and a large crowd in a small area. 

After the game, fans rushed to the field throwing bottles, tipped over police cars, and created a violent and unsafe environment for the fans, players and officials. Although using tear gas at a soccer game has been made illegal by FIFA, the police tear gassed the crowd. With such little space, the panic worsened and the violence ensued. 

Eyewitnesses have stated that the police released the tear gas into the stands, causing all of the fans to flee the stadium for safety. With a sold-out crowd, exiting the stadium was extremely difficult. The crowd escalated into a deadly stampede, which killed at least 34 people instantly. Others died later due to injuries.

Activist groups are questioning the response of the police and whether tear gas was appropriately used. This incident also creates the question of what is an appropriate way to prevent violence in soccer stadiums as well as a safer way to de-escalate these violent incidents once they begin. 

Due to Indonesia’s history with soccer violence, opposing fans have been banned from the stadium during matches. Despite that effort, this tragic event has become one of the deadliest soccer-related incidents in the country’s history.  The Indonesian government suspended the soccer team from playing until a formal investigation can be completed. 

The country of Indonesia is mourning the deaths of 125 people, 17 victims being children. Many people lost their parents, siblings, friends, cousins or children to this tragedy.

As of now, 10 police officers have been removed from their positions due to their connection with the firing of tear gas in the stadium, including the police chief. Hopefully, steps will be made to keep soccer related violence from occurring again.