Police use water cannons and tear gas after crowds rage in central Brussels after Morocco’s shock World Cup victory.
Police cordoned off parts of central Brussels, deployed water cannons and fired tear gas to disperse crowds on Sunday following violence during and after Morocco’s upset 2-0 World Cup win over Belgium.
Dozens of rioters overturned and set a car on fire, set electric scooters on fire, and threw bricks at cars. Police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere said some fans were armed with sticks and one journalist “was injured in the face by fireworks.”
Brussels Mayor Philippe Close urged people to stay away from the city center and said the authorities were doing everything they could to keep order on the streets. Even metro and tram traffic had to be interrupted by police orders.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the incidents this afternoon. The police have already intervened firmly. Therefore, I advise against fans coming to the city center. The police are doing everything they can to maintain public order,” Close tweeted.
“I have ordered the police to arrest the rioters.”
The situation normalizes more than the remaining police forces mobilized. Thanks to the unit of command and the collaboration of the police zones and @federal police, nous avons can contain the incidents on une avenue. (1/2)
—Philippe Close (@PhilippeClose) November 27, 2022
Translation: The situation is under control but our police forces remain mobilized. Thanks to the unity of command and the collaboration of the police and @federal policewe were able to contain the incidents.
About 100 police officers were mobilized, but it was not immediately clear how many people were arrested during the riots. Meanwhile, metro stations were closed and streets blocked to limit the spread of violence.
There were also riots in the city of Antwerp.
Police in the neighboring Netherlands said violence erupted in the port city of Rotterdam when riot officers tried to disperse a group of 500 soccer fans who hurled fireworks and glass at police. The media reported riots in the capital Amsterdam and The Hague.
The Belgian mood was in stark contrast to Morocco, where people took to the streets of Rabat for spontaneous celebrations that included dancing, singing and waving Moroccan flags, while drivers honked as they drove through the streets.
Morocco’s victory against Belgium (ranked second in the world according to FIFA) was a huge surprise at the World Cup and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian cities.
Two goals from substitutes Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal in the second half resulted in the Atlas Lions’ third World Cup victory.
They moved to four points, level with 2018 runners-up Croatia for whom Andrej Kramaric scored a brace, and Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer the others, after Alphonso Davies headed in in the second minute for the fastest goal of the tournament and that of Canada. for the first time in a World Cup.
If they avoid defeat in their last game against Canada, they will seal their place in the round of 16 for the second time in their history.
Belgium are one point behind and now need a result against Croatia to advance from Group F.