The Jakarta Post
At least two people were injured and four motorcycles burned in clashes between supporters of Arema Malang and Persebaya Surabaya near the Supriyadi Stadium in Blitar, East Java, shortly before the match between the two soccer teams competing in the East Java Governor Cup began on Tuesday afternoon.
Several brawls between supporters of the two rival soccer teams were reported outside the stadium during and after the semifinal round match, which ended with Persebaya scoring four goals against Arema’s two.
A huge clash took place one kilometer north of the stadium when groups of the rival supporters of Arema and Persebaya — nicknamed Aremania and Bonek, respectively — encountered each other.
Hundreds of personnel from the Blitar Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) subsequently managed to separate the brawling groups.
Blitar Police chief Adj. Comr. Leonard Sinambela said the police had launched an investigation to find the rioters involved in a clash on Jl. Kapuas, which ended with four motorcycles being burned and one supporter injured.
"We still don’t know who owned the [burned] motorcycles and we don't know who are the perpetrators," he told reporters a few hours after the match.
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A supporter of Arema Malang was immediately rushed to Mardi Waluyo Public Hospital after receiving a severe injury to his leg. "One Aremania member is undergoing radiology observation on his leg," the hospital’s deputy director Herya Putra confirmed.
Leonard said another clash that took place in Bendo village left one Bonek supporter injured.
Besides some other sporadic brawls that occurred between smaller groups of Aremania and Bonek, some minor clashes between police and soccer fans took place during the match as the supporters — who were barred from entering the stadium — attempted to get inside.
Police shot tear gas several times in different locations around the stadium where groups of supporters gathered to watch the match on set-up screens, including on Jl. Ciliwung, some 200 meters from the stadium.
"We come here to witness the match in the stadium, not to watch it on a screen. We know the match is without spectators, but it doesn't mean that supporters are forbidden to watch it in the stadium," said a Bonek member who wished to remain anonymous.
Arema’s Aremania has been particularly hostile toward Persebaya’s Bonek. The rivalry between the two soccer teams is significant because they are both based in East Java. (afr)