AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
MOROCCO has delivered one of World Cup 2022 biggest upsets which has led to the first riots directly related to the North African team’s 2-0 win over Belgium, the world No 2.
It was not clear whether the riots were started by Belgians upset by their national team’s loss or whether Belgians were upset by the enthusiastic celebration of the victory by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots.
Belgian police sealed parts of the city centres in Brussels and Antwerp after rioters started fires and pelted cars with bricks. Police also deployed water cannons and fired teargas to disperse crowds as violence broke out following the match in Qatar.
According to The Daily Mail, Brussels mayor Philippe Close urged all football fans to stay away from the city centre 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.
The Daily Mail reported that it was not immediately clear how many people were detained during the disturbances, but around 100 police officers were rushed to deal with the violent scenes after the full-time whistle.
Footage and pictures from the scene have shown Moroccan supporters wearing and waving flags.
Mayor Close told The Daily Mail: ‘I strongly condemn the incidents that occurred this afternoon. The police have already acted harshly. So I advise supporters not to come to the centre. The police are doing everything they can to maintain public order.’
According to the British publication, police in the neighbouring Netherlands said violence erupted in the port city of Rotterdam, with riot officers attempting to break up a group of football supporters who pelted police with fireworks and glass.
At the World Cup, Morocco claimed a sensational and deserved victory following goals from Abdelhamid Sabiri (73rd) and Zakaria Aboukhlal in injury time.