Riots in the center of Brussels after Belgium-Morocco: a journalist injured, here is why the police had to intervene in number!
Sylvie Claire / November 28, 2022
A dozen administrative arrests in Brussels after the Belgium-Morocco match (Belga) The police made a dozen administrative arrests and a judicial arrest, following the riots that shook the city center of Brussels late Sunday afternoon, according to the police zone Brussels-Capital/Ixelles. Damage was caused and people were injured, including boulevard Lemonnier, by soccer fans, following the match between Belgium and Morocco on Sunday as part of the World Cup in Qatar.
Violence broke out in Brussels on Sunday after Morocco's victory over Belgium in the World Cup. According to the mayor, 200 people attacked vehicles, street furniture and police. Journalists were also targeted. The riots started about 20 minutes before the end of the match.
Police reported the use of pyrotechnics, projectiles being thrown, demonstrators armed with sticks, a fire on the public highway and the destruction of a traffic light.
One of our reporters in the Rue des Foulons described a "very tense atmosphere between the casseurs and the police" and "a lot of explosions and dark smoke coming in" during the events.
"A journalist was injured in the face by fireworks," according to the police, who then decided to intervene with a water cannon and tear gas.
A hundred police officers, who were thrown projectiles, were mobilized in this intervention. According to a first report, one policeman was slightly injured.
Law enforcement officials asked residents and fans to avoid the areas around Lemonnier Boulevard and the Gare du Midi. Metro stations were closed and streets were blocked to limit crowds. In the end, a dozen administrative arrests were made by the police.
"Our strategy was to concentrate things on an artery of 200 or 300 meters. That we don't go into the shopping areas, the Rue Neuve, the Boulevard de Waterloo, the Plaisirs d'hiver. It was successful, we managed to concentrate the incidents. But I really want to condemn them with the greatest intensity," said Philippe Close, the mayor of Brussels. "There is a rental car that was set on fire. We will take stock of the situation now. But the fact that it was concentrated in the Boulevard Lemonnier, and that it was not in the Winter Pleasures, nor in the shopping streets, avoided scenes of looting as we could have feared.
Six Brussels metro and premetro stations had to be closed because of the riots that broke out on the sidelines of the Belgium-Morocco match on Sunday evening, the Stib said.
The closed stations, on police orders, are Etangs Noirs, Comte de Flandre, Beekkant, Anneessens, Lemonnier and Bourse. The streetcars and metros pass through, but without stopping. The decision was taken preventively, to avoid that the tumult caused by the match on the surface does not spread to the stations, says the Stib. The De Brouckère, Sainte-Catherine and Central Station stations, which had to be closed for a while, were reopened shortly before 7pm. The Stib network is also disrupted on the surface because of the fan celebrations, but the company is not yet able to give a more detailed overview. It therefore advises users to follow the situation via its accounts on social networks.
A police platoon of about 40 people intervened on Sunday evening on the Place du Pavillon in Schaerbeek, for the outbursts on the sidelines of the soccer match between Belgium and Morocco on Sunday afternoon, as part of the World Cup in Qatar. "The situation is currently under control. No major damage is to be deplored and no injuries either," Commissioner Michaël De Beul, spokesman for the Brussels-North zone, told the Belga agency.
"We dispersed a group, Place du Pavillon in Schaerbeek, who were celebrating the victory of the Moroccan national soccer team, without too much trouble at first, but then began to attack vehicles passing by," explained the police commissioner. "It was to the point that there was danger to the physical integrity of people, which is why we intervened to disperse them," he said, Sunday around 18:45.