Police had to seal off parts of the centre of Brussels, deploy water cannons and fire tear gas to disperse crowds following violence during and after Morocco’s 2-0 upset win over Belgium at the World Cup.
Morocco’s victory over Belgium in the World Cup triggered riots in Brussels with a car and some electric scooters set on fire. The riots took place in several places across the Belgian capital.
Dozens of rioters set steps on fire and pelted cars with bricks. Police moved in after one person suffered facial injuries, said Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere.
Brussels mayor Philippe Close urged football fans to stay away from the city center and said authorities were doing their utmost to keep order in the streets. Even subway and tram traffic had to be interrupted on police orders.
Morocco’s victory was a major upset at the World Cup and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian cities.
It was not immediately clear how many people were detained during the disturbances.
"Around 7 p.m. calm returned and preventive patrols remain in place in the sectors concerned," police spokesperson Ilse Van de Keere said.
"The rioters used pyrotechnic material, projectiles, sticks, and set fire on the public highway," the police said. "Also, a journalist was injured in the face by fireworks. It is for these reasons that it was decided to proceed with a police intervention, with the deployment of water cannon and the use of tear gas," the police said.