Moroccan Soccer Fans Celebrate World Cup Win Against Belgium by Rioting in the EU Capital

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After Morocco’s victory in the World Cup, 2-0, riots broke out in Brussels, which is the de facto capital, and spread to other European cities.

The World Cup is currently underway in Doha, Qatar. Belgium beat Morocco on Sunday to become the second-ranked country in the world, after Brazil, having won seven of the previous seven matches.

According to the Associated Press, this was Morocco’s first World Cup win in 24 years, and it was it’s third ever win. Canada will play the north African team at the Al Thumama Stadium.

Some of the 500,000 Moroccans living in Belgium set fire to cars and looted shops. They also attacked police stations and assaulted officers to celebrate the victory.

Police stated that “rioters used pyrotechnic materials, projectiles, and sticks and set fire to the public highway” and that a journalist had been “injured by fireworks.”

Traffic lights and bus shelters were also demolished.

Around 50 rioters attacked a Belgian police station east of Brussels. They reportedly smashed windows and destroyed police vehicles.

Select public transit stations were closed in Brussels to stop the spread of destructive merrymaking.

Online videos showing the destruction of vehicles have circulated, with some even being made into infernos.

Cars were thrown overturned and smashed.

Incendiary devices were used in areas that were crowded:

According to the New York Times, police in Brussels tried to restore order and disperse mobs using tear gas and water cannons.

Another video, shared by Yasin Akouh as a reporter, shows rioters fleeing police while water cannons flood the streets.

The water cannons seem to have had a dual purpose, chasing out mobs and extinguishing the flames left by rioters.

Philippe Close, the mayor of Brussels, condemned the riots and warned soccer fans not to go to the center. Police were also asked to make arrests in an effort to “maintain public order.”

According to the International Business Times, 11 people were eventually arrested.

Close said that the rioters were not supporters. Moroccan fans celebrate with us.”

Ilse Van der Keere, a spokesperson for the police, stated that calm had returned around 7 p.m. and that preventive patrols were still in place in the affected sectors.

Annelies Verlinden, Belgian Interior Minister, said that it was “sad to see how some individuals abuse a situation and run amok.”

Moroccan riots broke out in the Netherlands and swept through Rotterdam, Amsterdam, the Hague, and other cities.

ABC News reported that nearly 500 rioters attacked police officers in Rotterdam with glass and fireworks.

These Moroccan soccer-related riots are not unusual.

According to the BBC, rioters celebrating Morocco’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification in 2017 injured more than 20 Belgian police officers. They also attacked police in the Netherlands.

Like in the most recent incident, the rioters looted, set fire to at least one vehicle, and damaged property all over Brussels.