Riots break out in Belgium and the Netherlands after Morocco’s World Cup victory


BRUSSELS (AP) — Riots erupted in several Belgian and Dutch cities following Morocco’s 2-0 win over Belgium at the World Cup on Sunday.

Police arrested a dozen people after deploying water cannons and firing tear gas to disperse crowds in Brussels and eight others in the northern city of Antwerp. Two police officers were injured in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. By late Sunday evening, a precarious calm had returned to most of the towns concerned.

READ MORE: Morocco beat Belgium 2-0, pulling off another upset at the World Cup

Dozens of rioters overturned and torched cars, torched electric scooters and pelted cars with bricks. Police intervened after a person suffered facial injuries, Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere said.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close urged people to stay away from the city center and said authorities were doing everything possible to maintain order on the streets. Even metro and tram traffic had to be stopped by order of the police.

“They are not fans, they are rioters. Moroccan fans are here to celebrate,” Close said. There was also unrest in the city of Antwerp and Liège.

“It’s sad to see how a few individuals abuse a situation to go wild,” Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said.

Police in neighboring Holland said violence broke out in the port city of Rotterdam, with riot officers trying to break up a group of 500 football fans who pelted police with fireworks and glass. The media reported unrest in the capital Amsterdam and The Hague.

Morocco’s victory was a major surprise at the World Cup and was celebrated enthusiastically by fans of immigrant Moroccan origin in many Belgian and Dutch cities.


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