French newspaper Le Monde has provided a breakdown of how violence unfolded in the centre of Brussels following Morocco’s victory over Belgium in the World Cup.
The fixture between Belgium and Morocco in Group E of the 2022 World Cup always had the potential to create tension, however even before the game had ended, violent incidents had started to break out in the city centre. On one of the main boulevards, a car was overturned and set on fire and self-service scooters were destroyed.
Dozens of young people, some of them masked, and some wearing the flag of Morocco, gathered together during the second half of the match in the Gare du Midi district. As the game went on, this crowd grew. But it was when firecrackers and fireworks began to be thrown that the police became involved, with the support of a water cannon.
Members of the Moroccan community expressed their disappointment at the violence and tried to calm the scenes. Nordine, who had watched them with his two sons in a bar in the neighbourhood of Molenbeek, spoke to Le Monde about his frustration at what had happened. He said that “tonight, TV will talk about that [the violence] again, and not about Morocco’s great victory, which even Belgian journalists say is well deserved”.
Similar incidents were reported in Antwerp and Ghent, where a police car was attacked, and near Liege, where individuals threw stones at a police station.
These scenes follow similar violence that took place in November 2017 after Morocco qualified for the World Cup in Russia. On that occasion 22 police officers were injured and there were scenes of looting and rioting in the Belgian capital.
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