Riots Follow World Cup Upset

'Those are not fans, they are rioters,' Brussels mayor says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 27, 2022 3:40 PM CST
World Cup Upset Sparks Riots
Riot police officers stand on a main boulevard in Brussels on Sunday after Morocco's 2-0 win over Belgium at the World Cup.   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Riots broke out in several Belgian and Dutch cities after Morocco's 2-0 upset win over Belgium at the World Cup on Sunday. Police detained about a dozen people after they deployed water cannons and fire tear gas to disperse crowds in Brussels and eight more in the Northern city of Antwerp. Dozens of rioters overturned and torched cars, set electric scooters on fire, and pelted cars with bricks. Two police officials were injured in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. By late evening Sunday, an uneasy calm had returned to most of the cities involved, the AP reports.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close urged people to stay away from the city center. Even subway and tram traffic had to be interrupted on police orders. "Those are not fans, they are rioters. Moroccan fans are there to celebrate," Close said. There were also disturbances in the cities of Antwerp and Liege. "Sad to see how a few individuals abuse a situation to run amok," said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden. Police in the neighboring Netherlands said violence erupted in Rotterdam, with riot officers attempting to break up a group of 500 soccer supporters who pelted police with fireworks and glass. Media reported unrest in the capital of Amsterdam and in The Hague. Morocco's victory was a major World Cup upset and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian and Dutch cities.

(More 2022 World Cup stories.)

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