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In Indonesia, violence after a football match kills 127

Fans of the Arema FC team entered the pitch at the Kanjuruhan stadium in the eastern city of Malang after their team lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya.

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In Indonesia, violence after a football match kills 127

Fans of the Arema FC team entered the pitch at the Kanjuruhan stadium in the eastern city of Malang after their team lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya. It was the first time in more than twenty years that Arema FC had lost to their great rival.

Police, who called the incident a "riot", tried to persuade fans to return to the stands and fired tear gas after two officers were killed. Many victims were trampled to death.

"In the incident, 127 people died, including two police officers. Thirty-four people died inside the stadium and the rest died in hospital," the local police chief said in a statement. Nico Afinta.

Several people were crushed while running towards one of the exits of the stadium, and died of asphyxiation, detailed Mr. Afinta.

Footage captured inside the stadium shows a huge amount of tear gas and people clinging to the barriers, trying to escape. Others carried wounded bystanders, pushing their way through the chaos.

A distressing spectacle in front of the stadium testified Sunday morning to the unrest of the day before: charred vehicles, including a police truck, littered the streets.

The Indonesian government apologized for this incident and promised to investigate the circumstances of this crowd movement.

"We are sorry for this incident (...) It is a regrettable incident that hurts our football at a time when fans can watch a match in a stadium," said Indonesian Minister of Sports and Youth Zainudin Amali at the Kompas channel.

"We will thoroughly examine the organization of the match and the number of fans (in the stadium). Will we ban the presence of fans at matches again? We will discuss it," he added.

A culpa also came from the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), which suspended all matches scheduled for this week, banned Arema FC from hosting home games for the rest of the season and said she would send a team of investigators to Malang to establish the cause of the crash.

"We are sorry and we apologize to the families of the victims and to all parties for this incident," said PSSI President Mochamad Iriawan.

Fan violence is a problem in Indonesia, where long-running rivalries have turned into deadly clashes.

Some matches -- the biggest being the Old Indonesia Derby between Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung -- are so tense that players from top teams have to go under heavy protection.

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