Rioters have started fires and pelted cars with bricks in Brussels following Belgium’s shock 2-0 loss to Morocco at the World Cup.
Morocco’s victory was a major upset at the tournament and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian cities this evening.
Police had to seal off parts of the Belgian capital and the port city of Antwerp, while officers also deployed water cannons and fired tear gas to disperse crowds as violence broke out following the match.
Dozens of rioters set steps on fire and threw bricks at cars, before riot cops moved in when one person suffered facial injuries, according to a police spokesperson.
Dozens of fans also smashed shop windows, threw fireworks and torched vehicles.
Similar demonstrations took place in the port city of Antwerp tonight, where tram traffic had to be interrupted on police orders.
Even before the end of the match, ‘dozens of people, including some wearing hoodies, sought confrontation with the police, which compromised public safety’, Brussels police said in a statement.
Around a hundred police officers were mobilised while residents were warned to avoid certain areas of the city centre. Metro stations were closed and streets sealed off to limit the spread of the violence.
Meanwhile, Dutch riot police carried out baton charges in three cities to disperse unruly Moroccan football supporters celebrating their team’s victory.
Police took action in Rotterdam, where some 500 people gathered near the city centre, as well as in The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht, Dutch police tweeted.
Supporters threw fireworks and glass at the riot police who then carried out charges’, Rotterdam police said.
Video images showed police with batons and shields sweeping the city centre. Riot police also dispersed fans in Amsterdam and The Hague.
The Netherlands’ large Moroccan community burst into celebrations, lighting torches and fireworks and driving around hooting car horns and waving Moroccan flags shortly after the match ended. UK Mail