Tear gas fired by Indonesian police triggered last month’s deadly crush at football match, report says

The deadly soccer stampede in Indonesia last month was triggered due to tear gas firing by the police, the country’s human rights commission found in their report on the incident released on Wednesday.

Of the 135 people who died in the Kanjuruhan stadium in East Java, majority lost their lives due to asphyxiation, added officials from the human rights commission, Konmas HAM.

"There needs to be legal responsibility," said chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik as Komnas HAM commissioners specified seven violations of human rights.

These included the excessive use of force and violation of children’s rights, as the fatalities included 38 minors.

A government fact-finding team had arrived at similar conclusions last month after it found several factors including excessive use of tear has, locked doors, an overcapacity stadium and improper implementation of safety procedures leading to a deadly crush.

So far, six people, including officers and organisers, have been criminally charged for the stampede.

The incident took place on 1 October after Arema FC fans ran onto the pitch following their team’s defeat to rival Persebaya Surabaya with Indonesian authorities and the Indonesian football association coming under heavy criticism after police fired 45 rounds of tear gas inside the stadium.

The rights body concluded that despite warnings of fan rivalry between the two participating clubs, the organisers chose to undermine safety standards, giving priority to the commercial interest.

Komnas HAM has urged president Joko Widodo to form an independent team to audit all stadiums across the country, to ensure adherence to Fifa regulations. The commissioners further recommended that if no improvements are made in the next three months, then matches in the country be suspended.

The president announced the demolition and rebuilding of the Kanjuruhan stadium after meeting Fifa chief Gianni Infantino in Jakarta last month.

Fifa has also set up an office in Indonesia to support safety measures as the country prepares to host the Under-20 World Cup next year.

Additional reporting from the wires