Accra remembers stadium disaster

15th anniversary of Accra stadium deaths.

On 9 May Ghana will commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Accra Sports Stadium disaster in which 127 fans died during a match between two of the coutry's main football teams: home side Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko from Kumasi.

The anniversary will be marked across the country with the main events taking place in Kumasi, a city located 200km north-west of Accra. Kumasi will host a street march, religious ceremonies at a church and mosque, and a special football match between teams from Accra and Kumasi.

The 2001 tragedy remains the worst stadium disaster in African history, and a subsequent enquiry blamed police for reckless behaviour and indiscriminate firing of plastic bullets and tear gas. The commission of enquiry found that police over-reacted to rioting football fans many of whom died from asphyxia during a stampede as the crowd attempted to escape through locked gates.

The enquiry resulted in safety improvements in the 40,000-seater venue which was renamed Ohene Djan Stadium, after the nation's first director of the Ghana Football Association, in 2004.

The anniversary of the tragedy comes after the 26 April findings by an English inquest jury that the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium crush had been unlawfully killed, holding the police responsible for the disaster.

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