Nine Belgian police officers were taken to hospital for treatment due to violent clashes with 200 to 300 people in Liege at the weekend, according to local police on Sunday.
In total, 36 police officers were injured and around 10 people were arrested on Saturday, the eastern Belgian city’s police chief Christian Beaupere said.
The apparent trigger for the violence was the forceful public arrest of a black woman earlier in the week on the central Place Saint-Lambert square.
Shops and fast-food outlets were attacked, with some being looted, while police were pelted with flying objects and used tear gas, Belgian media reported.
Calm was restored after a few hours.
“Order was quickly re-established in a very complicated situation,” Beaupere said, describing the rapid escalation as a “fury” or “surge.”
Some 250 officers were present and water cannon were used, he said.
Police believe the damage was organized. “They appeared in a few minutes and from the way they set about the damage, the thefts, we see that it wasn’t a trial run,” Beaupere said.
Belgium has seen a number of protests against police racism in the last year.
Footage has been circulating of a black woman pinned to the floor by two police officers during her arrest for “rebellion” in central Liege on Monday, sparking accusations of racism.
She has filed an official complaint for police violence, which is now under investigation, a police spokesperson confirmed to dpa on Sunday.
The police deny the allegations of racism.