6 facing criminal charges over Indonesia stadium disaster, police chief says

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 07 2022 05:15 AM

A view of the tribune of Kanjuruhan Stadium following the soccer match riot and stampede in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, October 3, 2022. Mast Irham, EPA-EFE

Indonesia's police chief on Thursday said six people were facing criminal charges over a football stadium disaster that killed 131 people at the weekend.

"Based on the investigation and sufficient evidence, we have determined six suspects," national police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo told a press conference.

The six suspects include three police officers and three people responsible for the match and its security, including the head of Arema FC's organizing committee and one of the club's security officers, he said. 

The announcement came as anger grew over the police response to a pitch invasion.

Officers reacted by firing tear gas into packed stands as fans of Arema FC tried to approach players following their defeat to fierce rivals Persebaya Surabaya on Saturday evening.

Hundreds of people fled for small exits, resulting in a crush that left many trampled or suffocating to death.

Police described the pitch invasion as a riot and said two officers were killed, but survivors accused them of overreacting.

Officers responded with force, kicking and hitting fans with batons, according to witnesses and footage, pushing the spectators back into the stands where many would die after tear gas was fired.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced an investigation after the tragedy and called for a safety review of all stadiums.