Kanjuruhan Stadium Tragedy; Aremania Claims No Intention of Creating Riot

4 October 2022 08:51 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaA supporter of Arema football club, Totok Prasetyo said there was a misunderstanding between the club’s fans Aremania and the police which resulted in the tragic incident at Kanjuruhan Stadium on Saturday, October 1, 2022. The tragedy has reportedly become one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters of all time.

Totok recalled that initially, the home team players tried to greet supporters in the stands after losing to rival Persebaya Surabaya. A number of supporters then rushed to the pitch at the end of the match to encourage the players.

“Maybe there are many young police officers, maybe the way they handle supporters is like dealing with protesters. So maybe they think [the supporters] would do anarchists, while that's not the case,” he said when contacted on Monday, October 3, 2022.

The 31-year-old man said he witnessed the incident from afar as he was in the VIP stands with his girlfriend. He also said the support for Arema players was given because the home team’s record of never losing to the long-time rival at Kanjuruhan Stadium which lasted for 23 years was broken. On that night, Arema lost 2-3.

Totok also witnessed police officers and a number of Aremania on the pitch attacking each other. To his surprise, the police immediately fired tear gas at the stands, not at those on the pitch.

“The police fired tear gas into the south and north stands. I recorded the big one being shot into the north stand behind the goal, that's clear,” he added.

After the police released tear gas, according to him, the situation became even tenser. Supporters scattered and some destroyed the VIP stands guardrail in order to save themselves.

He also heard that the doors in various stands were deliberately closed as the authority evacuated Persebaya players and officials due to worries that Aremania could possibly attack them.

In this Kanjuruhan tragedy, at least 125 people died. National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo dismissed the Malang Police Chief Ferli Hidayat and nine commanders of East Java Police’s mobile brigade. Besides, 28 police officers also face a code of ethics examination.

HAMDAN CHOLIFUDIN ISMAIL| NUGROHO CATUR PAMUNGKAS (Jakarta)| EKO WIDIANTO (Malang)

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