Moroccan World Cup celebrations turn violent in Brussels

The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Brussels

Celebrations turned violent in central Brussels, minutes after the qualification of the Moroccan national football team for the next World Cup in Russia.

Riot police were sent out on Saturday to control a crowd of about 300 people, at one point firing water canon at revelers. At least one car was burned during the incidents, police said.

Videos posted on social media showed tense scenes as riot police tried to block off streets to the fans as other fans chanted joyfully from the steps of the Bourse stock exchange building, a usual spot sports celebration.

An AFP reporter on the scene said that calm had mostly returned by 2030 GMT, about two hours after the end of the match, though with a heavy police presence remaining.

Morocco defeated Ivory Coast 2-0 last night in Abidjan to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the country’s first appearance at the finals since 1998.

Brussels has a big Moroccan population, many living in the nearby Molenbeek district, which came to international prominence as the home and hideout of planners of the terror attacks in Paris in 2015 and in Brussels last year.


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