It was supposed to be a happy night, but under the push of the crowd, it turned into a miserable night.
The streets of Itaewon, Seoul that night looked like this: dozens of corpses were lined up in a row covered with shrouds, dozens of people fell to the ground in disorder and were rescued by volunteers, hundreds of ghost pretenders and ghost watchers Fleeing in panic, cries for help, crying, and screams resounded throughout the streets and alleys…
”This is really a tragedy,” South Korean President Yoon Suk-yue said in a national address the next morning, “What happened in the center of Seoul last night should not have happened tragedy and disaster.”
On the evening of October 29, in a narrow downhill alley in Itaewon, Seoul, 156 fresh lives disappeared amidst the crowd’s pushing and crying. The Halloween celebration that night was the first unrestricted Halloween gathering in South Korea since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic. Young people who have been suppressed for a long time came out in groups to watch ghosts and pretend to be ghosts. More than 100,000 people came to Itaewon, where the accident happened.
Misfortunes never come singly. A tragic stampede also occurred in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Africa. Eleven people, including 2 policemen, died at the concert at that time.
The next evening, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, a suspension bridge collapsed as people gathered for a festival in the western Indian state of Gujarat, sending hundreds into a river and drowning at least 141. In the two days before and after, more than 300 lives were lost in the carnival activities. Behind the tragedies where happy events turn into mourning events, who should bear the ultimate responsibility for the loss of these lives?
Man-made mischief leads to tragedy
After the Itaewon tragedy, several survivors complained to the media and the police that before the accident, five or six men deliberately pushed and shoved among the crowd. In addition to someone deliberately pushing and shoving, eyewitnesses at the scene revealed to the media that after hearing that a well-known artist appeared in Itaewon that night, a large number of people frantically rushed to the alley where the accident happened in order to chase stars. This crazy move instantly caused dozens of people to fall down, which in turn triggered the following tragedies.
In the incident of falling into the river in Gujarat, India, there were also elements of mischief. CCTV footage showed that before the bridge collapsed, a group of young people deliberately shook the suspension bridge from side to side while crossing the bridge, and some even kicked violently at the junction of the steel cables and the bridge deck. Then the cables of the suspension bridge snapped and the youths who rocked the bridge fell, along with others on the bridge, into the river below.
There have been seven mass stampedes of pilgrims near Malat Bridge in the past 25 years.
Morbi, India, October 31, 2022, Rescue workers in boats looking for victims of suspension bridge collapse accident
In fact, this 143-year-old suspension bridge has only been reopened for 4 days, and it has undergone nearly seven months of repairs.
Also in October, Indonesian fans provoked trouble on the court because of the team’s loss, causing a stampede. On October 1, at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia, the Arema football team was defeated by the Surabaya football team 3-2 at their home court.
After the game, at least hundreds of fans poured into the stadium, insulting players and coaches. Later, they scolded and threw objects at the fans in the stands. Immediately afterwards, they had a physical conflict with the police who came to clear the scene, and the latter fired tear gas at the former during the conflict.
Fans, whether or not they participated in the riot, fled under police tear gas, which led to crowding and a stampede that killed 132 people in the stadium.
Also after the collapse of football beliefs, on May 24, 1964, 328 people died of a stampede in the Lima football tragedy in Peru; on May 9, 2001, 126 people died in the Accra football tragedy in Ghana due to a stampede.
Beneath Faith: Stampede of Frenzy
Compared with football matches, the stampede incidents caused by religious activities are more tragic.
On September 24, 2015, Mecca suffered the worst stampede in 25 years. According to the Associated Press, at least 2,411 pilgrims died. That day was the fourth day of the Hajj for Muslims from all over the world. Near the Marat Bridge, nearly a million pilgrims met another group of pilgrims who were traveling against the current. The people in front couldn’t move, and the people behind continued to push forward. In the end, under the lack of unified command, the tragedy of people trampled on others was caused.
On October 1, 2022, in East Java, Indonesia, fans clashed and caused a stampede
In the 25 years before the tragedy, there had been seven large-scale stampedes of pilgrims near the Marat Bridge, including 1,426 people were killed in 1990.
In order to ensure the safety of pilgrims in Mecca, the Saudi government has invested tens of billions of dollars in the construction of pedestrian bridges, tunnels and elevated roads on the pilgrimage road. Especially in 2006, the death of more than 362 pilgrims made the Saudi government learn from the pain and spent 1.1 billion US dollars to completely renovate the Jamarat Bridge. However, the tragedy on September 24, 2015 was still unavoidable.
The stampede with heavy casualties has discredited Saudi Arabia. In order to indignate the people and show a responsible attitude, on the day of the accident, King Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered the beheading of 28 responsible persons.
Although there were many stampedes on the Hajj, it still failed to reduce the enthusiasm of those Muslims. Although Saudi Arabia has imposed restrictions on the number of Muslims who can make pilgrimages from various countries each year, there are still more than two million Muslims who go on a pilgrimage to Mecca every year.
Today, with the widespread use of airplanes as a means of transportation, it is easier for pilgrims from all over the world to reach Mecca for the pilgrimage. According to Islamic teachings, if conditions permit, every Muslim must visit Mecca at least once during the Hajj during his lifetime.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, large-scale religious gatherings in India are also places where stampedes occur frequently. A study in India found that 79 percent of stampedes in the country occurred at religious events. The deadliest stampede in Indian history was the Allahabad Stampede in 1954-this accident happened at a Hindu gathering in Allahabad, India, and more than 800 people died.
On January 25, 2005, at a religious gathering attended by more than 200,000 people at the Mandra Devi Temple on the outskirts of Satara, India, due to an electrical short circuit in a store near the temple, it caught fire. In order to avoid the fire, densely packed pilgrims The victims fled in panic, which led to a stampede in which more than 300 people died.
This year’s river fall incident in Gujarat, India, also occurred during the celebration of the local Diwali festival. The stampede in Itaewon, South Korea, was also caused by the celebration of Halloween. These two tragedies also occurred during religious and cultural activities.
tear gas bomb
In places where crowds gather, police traffic control is particularly important for the safety of the venue.
Protest rallies in South Korea abound. Over the years, the South Korean police have generally been safe in handling the safety of rallies. The “New York Times” once reported that the South Korean police are very good at channeling the crowd, and the public protest assembly looks very much like a pre-rehearsed rehearsal. However, the Itaewon stampede broke this “image” and became the most tragic stampede in South Korea’s history.
According to Korean media, during the Halloween period in previous years, the police usually deployed nearly 800 police officers to maintain order near Itaewon. However, this year, only 200 police officers were deployed nearby to fight drugs, prevent theft, and prevent sexual assault.
A survivor of the accident, Ahmed from India, said that he has been to Itaewon for Halloween in the past five years. This year, the flow of people was more than in previous years, but no police came out to control the flow of people. Lee Chang-moo, a professor of urban planning at Hanyang University in Seoul, said the Itaewon stampede should be regarded as a “man-made disaster”; the headline of an editorial in the Hankyoreh said the tragedy was “totally avoidable.”
Yoon Hee-geun, director of the South Korean National Police Agency, confirmed afterwards that before the stampede, there were at least dozens of calls to the police station, seeking the police to be there to ease the flow of people near Itaewon, but the police did not actively respond to them. After hearing the distress call from the caller, a policeman not only did not call the police immediately, but also wasted time asking the caller: “Will there be a major accident at the scene?”
During the stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium on October 1, the Indonesian police also been criticized in many ways. After investigation, the Indonesian Human Rights Commission concluded that the stampede was mainly caused by police violations and excessive firing of tear gas on the stadium.
The use of tear gas in the stadium also violated the relevant regulations of FIFA. Because under the stimulation of tear gas, people’s eyes will hurt, which will lead to panic. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the use of tear gas by Indonesian police was a poor decision and the incidents were “a dark day and an incomprehensible tragedy for all those involved in football”.
South Korean police are very good at channeling crowds, and the rallies of public protests look very much like pre-rehearsed.
On January 18, 2014, in Mumbai, India, a stampede occurred during an event to mourn the deceased Muslim spiritual leader
On September 24, 2015, Mecca was hit by the worst stampede in 25 years
The football tragedy in Lima, Peru in 1964 and the football tragedy in Accra, Ghana in 2001 were both caused by the stampede caused by police firing tear gas at the stadium. But these two large-scale tragedies did not make the Indonesian police scruples.
During the stampede in Mecca on September 24, 2015, local police were accused of not being properly trained—particularly lacking the language skills to communicate with foreign pilgrims—that they were unable to communicate with pilgrims before the accident. good communication. Iran also accused Saudi officials of closing two pilgrimage routes without authorization, which led to the tragedy.
Some people say that the fanaticism of faith and the fun and ignorance of young people often cause great disasters, and life has no strength at all in the face of these fanaticism and ignorance. Indeed, while humans, along with ants, sardines, and starlings, are among the most gregarious creatures on Earth, it is only humans that are frequently involved in stampedes.