Moroccan football fans celebrate the World Cup victory over Belgium by rioting, setting fires, attacking the police and looting in the EU capital

Riots broke out in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, on Sunday, spreading to other European cities after Morocco’s 2-0 win over Belgium soccer team at the World Cup.

Celebrate with Chaos

The World Cup is currently taking place in Doha, Qatar. On Sunday, Morocco beat Belgium, who are second in the world rankings after Brazil and have won the previous seven games.

According to that Associated Press, this was Morocco’s first win at a World Cup in 24 years and their third win ever. The North African team will face Canada at the Al Thumama Stadium.

To celebrate the win, some of the estimated According to reports, 500,000 Moroccans living in Belgium and other bad actors took to the streets, setting fires, overturning cars, looting shops, attacking police officers and attacking police stations.

police specified that the “rioters used pyrotechnic material, projectiles, sticks and started fires in the public street” and noted that one journalist was “injured in the face by firecrackers”.

Bus stops and traffic lights were also demolished.

East of Brussels, in the city of Liège, around 50 rioters allegedly attacked a police station, smashed windows and destroyed police vehicles.

To prevent the spread of destructive merriment, selected public transport stops in Brussels have been closed.

Videos documenting the chaos have since been circulating online, showing vehicles turned into infernos:

Cars were overturned and smashed:

Incendiary devices were detonated in crowded areas:

The New York Times reported that the police in Brussels tried to restore order and disperse the mob with tear gas and water cannons.

In another video shared by reporter Yasin Akouh, rioters can be seen fleeing police as water cannons flood the street:

The water cannons appear to have served a dual function, both chasing away the mob and putting out the fires left behind by the rioters:

The Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, expressed his condemnation of the unrest online and warned football fans “not to come to the centre” as police were urged to make arrests in a bid to “maintain public order”.

The international business newspaper reported that 11 people were eventually arrested.

As for the rioters, Close specified“These are not fans, these are rioters. Moroccan fans are there to celebrate.”

Police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere stated that “around 7 p.m. calm was restored and preventive patrols continued in the affected sectors”.

Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said“Sad to see a few people abuse a situation to run amok.”

Not limited to Belgium

Moroccan riots broke out in the Netherlands, hitting Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague.

abc news written down that in Rotterdam a mob of almost 500 rioters attacked the police with firecrackers and glass.

These football-related Moroccan riots were not unprecedented.

The BBC reported that in 2017, rioters celebrating Morocco’s qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup injured over 20 Belgian police officers and also attacked police in the Netherlands.

As in this most recent incident, rioters had looted across Brussels, set at least one car on fire and damaged property. Moroccan football fans celebrate the World Cup victory over Belgium by rioting, setting fires, attacking the police and looting in the EU capital

Laura Coffey

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