The Jakarta Post
Clashes between supporters of Arema Malang and Persebaya Surabaya soccer teams in Blitar, East Java, on Tuesday caused a total of Rp 250 million (US$18,275) in material losses, local authorities have revealed.
Several brawls between supporters of the two rival soccer teams were reported outside the stadium during and after the semifinal round match of the East Java Governor’s Cup, which ended with Persebaya beating Arema 4-2.
Blitar National and Political Unity Office (Kesbangpol) head Hakim Sisworo said a fact-finding investigation into the clashes had been completed, which revealed that the losses were mainly caused as a result of the destruction of 13 motorbikes and a car during the brawls.
The vehicles were burned and vandalized after supporters of the two opposing sides met at Jl. Kapuas – located around 1 kilometer from the stadium. The brawls also left six people injured.
“We estimate the losses from damaged vehicles and injured people to be more than Rp 200 million,” he told journalists on Thursday.
Financial losses also arose from damage inflicted on rice farms and food stalls. Hakim said 25 farmers in Bendo village lodged Rp 51 million-worth of claims over the damage to 6 hectares of rice fields. Eleven food stall owners also claimed losses from supporters who ate without paying.
East Java provincial secretary Hery Cahyono announced shortly after the semifinal match that the provincial administration would compensate losses inflicted in the clashes.
The soccer competition was organized by the East Java administration, in collaboration with the East Java branch of the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI). The final match between Persebaya and Persija Jakarta is scheduled for Thursday at Delta Sidoarjo Stadium in Sidoarjo, East Java.
Acting Blitar mayor Santoro said the administration apologized to local residents over the inconvenience and losses endured following the brawls.
He went on to claim that the administration had been in a difficult position in accepting the offer to host the match, given the long rivalry between the two team’s supporters.
Arema’s fans are known as “Aremania” and Persebaya’s as “Bonek”. The rivalry between the two soccer teams is heightened by both being from East Java.
Such hostile rivalry forced the competition organizer to move the semifinal match from Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang to Blitar.
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Blitar Police chief Adj. Comr. Leonard Sinambela said the incident at Jl. Kapuas occurred because the police failed to block an Aremania group from approaching one of Bonek’s gathering points on the street.
He admitted that the 1,000 security personnel deployed during the match day were far from adequate to control thousands of supporters coming to Blitar from various directions, meaning the initial plan to concentrate them in two separate venues failed.
“There were some groups among the supporters egging each other on to get closer to their rivals,” he said, adding that the police had arrested one teen for possession of a bladed weapon.