Indonesian recalls stinging tear gas in deadly soccer melee
The Associated Press
Dec. 29, 2014 8:56 pm ET
This image taken on Dec. 29, 2014, from Indonesian television shows protesters and riot police during a clash during an anti-corruption rally in Jakarta. Riot police opened fire with tear gas in the Indonesian capital to disperse protest crowds. (AP Photo/Indonesian TV)
JAKARTA, Indonesia—A man suffered a heart attack and later died during a soccer game between rival teams of supporters of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Corruption Eradication Commission.
Police used tear gas and water cannons that day in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to disperse more than 100 people who took part in an anti-corruption protest. More than 300 were arrested, including at least one protester who died after collapsing after being hit by a tear-gas canister fired by police during a clash with demonstrators.
The clash, which occurred in front of the country’s highest court, was caught on live TV and broadcast worldwide. But in a country where demonstrations are often met with heavy-handed police action, some have questioned why the authorities didn’t use more drastic tactics, such as water cannons or live rounds.
Police say the protest was a riot and that the man, identified as 38-year-old T.S.Y., had a heart attack before being hit in the chest. His death is being investigated as a homicide—not an accident.
“Police officers had no choice but to use the (force),” Karpal Singh, an anti-corruption prosecutor, told local media Tuesday.
The shooting took place on Dec. 29 to disperse a protest of thousands in downtown Jakarta against Yudhoyono’s administration, which has been embroiled in a number of scandals in recent months.
The president, who has been in power for 15 years, said in a Twitter post that he was “deeply saddened” over “heartbreaking scenes of death and violence” during the clash.
Police officers surround a