129 dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match
LIANWEN, China (AP) — Chinese police have shut down a soccer match because of massive overcrowding. At least 22 people have died in an outbreak of panic and stampedes, authorities said, and the death toll may rise.
The stampedes happened after thousands of fans were trying to get into China’s first major soccer match on Saturday against another major power, Pakistan, after being denied entry to the venue.
Witnesses posted photos on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, of chaos on the streets of Lianwen, a city in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, as crowds of people spilled out into the streets.
Lianwen International Stadium had to be closed so other stadiums could be used.
The violence started shortly before the match. The Chinese Football Association said the fans were unable to get into the stadium because they were denied entry in a mass screening procedure.
China’s central government has said it’s determined to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Authorities also have shut down other major sporting events, like the 2020 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, were canceled earlier this week because of health risks.
The virus has killed more than 3,800 people and infected more than 54,000 worldwide, mostly in China. The vast majority of those infected are in China, where it has infected nearly 576,000 people. In the U.S., only about 11 people have died of the virus and more than 575,000 have been infected.