Indonesia to demolish soccer stadium where stampede killed over 130 children
The Jakarta Post | Jun 07, 2014
Indonesia’s decision to demolish an overcrowded soccer stadium where at least 130 children and teenagers died following a stampede came after a government commission ruled the tragedy was the result of a “lack of supervision” on the part of the stadium operator, the Jakarta Post has learned.
The decision to demolish the Stade Atjeh was made after the stadium operator was cited in a case over safety at the stadium in March, according to people familiar with the case. The operator was ordered to hire new stadium officials by the next month, these sources said.
“This is not a criminal case,” said former Jokowi Cabinet secretary general Agung Laksono at a news conference on Tuesday announcing the government’s decision to demolish the stadium.
Authorities have been probing whether the operator, the government-linked company Surya Sports, or the Jendral Kode Karya Stadium (JKS), failed to adequately prepare for the safety of spectators before its opening on June 6, 2013. The tragedy occurred when a crowd of more than 50,000 people gathered at JKS, which is located along the banks of the Sangi river in a densely populated area, for a soccer match involving the Jakarta Metropolitans team.
The tragedy was one of the worst-ever mass-casualty events in Indonesia. The dead, in a category that includes both dead and injured, numbered at least 130. At least 10 of them were children.
The event had been preceded by a huge fan protest on June 2 in which tens of thousands of people demanded that the stadium be shut down because of the safety issue. The protest was peaceful, the government said, but it was not clear if the fans had given the stadium operator sufficient notice about the protest or if they had done so in time to have the protest be deemed “voluntary.”
The tragedy has sparked a national debate about whether the government can better regulate stadiums that draw huge crowds.
On Tuesday, Agung said that safety at the stadium was a national issue and the decision to close JKS meant the government was trying to improve safety there. “It’s not only about the