Report: Tear Gas Caused Indonesian Soccer Tragedy

Photo: EPA [via BBC News]

The Facts

  • According to a report released Wednesday by Indonesia's human rights commission (Komnas HAM), excessive and indiscriminate police use of tear gas was the primary cause behind a deadly stampede at the Kanjuruhan soccer stadium in East Java that killed 135 people last month.

  • Soehatman Ramli, chairman of Indonesia’s World Safety Organization, said that the fatalities, including dozens of children, resulted from a lack of an appropriate risk management plan.

The Spin

Narrative A

This report only confirms what's already known: that this was no accident but a grave crime. Excessive use of force in the form of tear gas violates FIFA'S rules and international law — to which Indonesia must adhere — which is why those responsible now need to face the consequences.

Narrative B

This tragedy is evidence of a deeper structural problem in Indonesia. Though needed, investigating police actions and holding those responsible accountable isn't enough. Police aren't equipped or trained to properly deal with soccer crowds, despite fans having an infamously violent culture. On top of that, Indonesia's sports facilities lack standard security protocols. A deeper review needs to happen.

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