Both Brussels and Rotterdam have a large immigrant population, most of whom are of north African (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Libya) and Turkish descent.
This has caused issues in the past, for example when Turkey wanted to organize a referendum, the Turkish government desired to organize a conference in Rotterdam for possible Turkish voters. As this coincided with the Dutch elections, the Dutch government forbade it. Result was 2 days of riots between the Turkish immigrants and the Rotterdam police.
Yesterday the Moroccan national soccer team played a match against Ivory Coast to qualify for next year’s world cup in Russia.
Morocco won 2-0 and their fans went into an ecstatic frenzy, both in Morocco and in the European cities where there is a large Moroccan immigrant population. In two of those cities, Brussels in Belgium and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, this resulted in large scale riots as celebrating Moroccan supporters started picking fights with police when their celebrations turned violent.
Belgium’s Interior Minister, Mr Jan Jambon tweeted to say these were acts of "unacceptable aggression in the centre of Brussels. Living together means respect, also for the police who are committed to our safety day and night."
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Some 20 police officers were injured as violent Moroccan fans threw stones at them.
Brussels is ruled by a socialist Mayor, Mr Philippe Close, who had instructed police not to interfere until things turned violent. Many of the Brussels police officers complained anonymously to the Belgian press today.
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Also in the Netherlands, in the cities of Den Haag and Rotterdam, large groups of Moroccan immigrants turned violent in their celebrations over their national team’s win. Windows were smashed, stones thrown at police and cars lit on fire.