Vigil held for 125 victims of Indonesia stadium crush

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hundreds attended a vigil in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Sunday night, a day after a deadly crowd crush at a football event.

Authorities say at least 125 people were killed in what’s become one of the world’s worst stadium disasters. Mourners gathered outside the gates of the stadium to lay flowers for the victims.

People also lit candles beside a lion statue, the symbol of local football club Arema FC. 30-year-old Choirul Muslimin, who was at the game on Saturday night, says he was able to escape through the VIP gate.

The tragedy unfolded on Saturday in Malang in the province of East Java, after home side Arema lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya.

East Java police chief Nico Afinta says frustrated Arema supporters invaded the pitch, damaging police vehicles and attacking officers.

Officers responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering the crush and cases of suffocation. 15-year-old Ahmad Cahyo and his brother 14-year-old Muhammad Farel were among those killed.

Relatives of the two boys held a funeral on Sunday, where they were laid to rest in adjacent graves.

Seventeen children are among those who died.

Condolences have poured in from around the world for the stadium victims, from the Pope in the Vatican to Gianni Infantino, the president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA.

“Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured, together with the people of Indonesia, the Asian Football Confederation and the entire Indonesian Football community at this difficult time”.

FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.

East Java police did not respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of those regulations.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the Indonesian top league, until an investigation had been completed.

Arema soccer club on Monday apologized to the victims of a deadly stadium stampede, with its president stating he was ready to take full responsibility for the events.