Police deployed water cannons and tear gas against unruly crowds in several Belgian and Dutch cities
Violent scenes unfolded in the streets of multiple European cities, including Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam on Sunday, as riot police officers clashed with hordes of unruly football fans after the Morocco team bested Belgium 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Authorities in Brussels used tear gas and water cannons in their effort to rein in the wanton property damage as Morocco fans smashed store windows and set fire to cars, according to AFP.
Video posted to social media showed a mob attacking a car and scooters, while another clip featured fans setting off fireworks and cheering.
Riot police reportedly had to seal off parts of the city center, including a popular Christmas market, and some public transit was ordered shut down.
Some of the many young Morocco’ fans in Brussels are getting out of hand with “celebrations” getting out of control. car and a scooter amongst the first victims… quartier midi Bruxelles. pic.twitter.com/ueTG0tjj47— Bruno Boelpaep (@BrunoBoelpaep) November 27, 2022
According to the AP, a dozen people were arrested in Brussels and eight more in Antwerp.
Brussels tonight. After World Cup game pic.twitter.com/63HwcHAIVB— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 27, 2022
In the neighboring Netherlands, authorities were forced to deploy riot police to contain a restless crowd in central Amsterdam, urging people to leave the area of the Mercatorplein square. Two police officials were reportedly injured amid unrest in Rotterdam.
Local politicians denounced the hooligans for bringing “shame to real fans” and urged residents to stay away from the city center, even while stressing that the majority of the revelers were behaving peacefully.
Brussels Mayor Philippe Close lamented that police had been forced to act “harshly” and belatedly ordered them to arrest the troublemakers.
BREAKING- According to AFP, Dozens of Moroccan fans smashed shop windows along with torching cars in Brussels after Morocco’s football win over Belgium.— Arabzies (@Arabzies) November 27, 2022
Around a hundred police officers were mobilized to Brussels city centre while residents were warned to avoid certain areas. pic.twitter.com/zO6RLJrpH6
Celebrations in Morocco’s capital of Rabat were comparatively subdued as fans sang and danced to mark their team’s first win in a World Cup match since 1998. Morocco’s next match is against Canada on December 1.