Qatar World Cup: Arrests after Morocco win sparks riots in Belgium and the Netherlands

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By AP  with Euronews
Police had to seal off parts of Brussels and moved in with water cannons and tear gas to disperse crowds.
Police had to seal off parts of Brussels and moved in with water cannons and tear gas to disperse crowds.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Twenty people have been arrested after riots in Belgium and the Netherlands following Morocco's shock win at the Qatar World Cup.

Clashes broke out on Sunday afternoon after Morocco upset Belgium 2-0 in their Group F game. Dozens of rioters vandalised cars and electric scooters, setting some on fire.

Police deployed water cannons and fired tear gas to disperse crowds in Brussels, where around a dozen people were detained.

The authorities had moved in after one person suffered facial injuries, according to Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere.

“Those are not fans, they are rioters. Moroccan fans are there to celebrate,” Brussels mayor Philippe Close said.

“Sad to see how a few individuals abuse a situation to run amok,” added Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

Eight others were arrested in Antwerp, while two police officers were injured in clashes in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Riot police officers were reportedly hit with fireworks and glass by a group of around 500 people.

By late evening Sunday, an uneasy calm had returned to most of the cities involved.

Moroccans represent the largest non-European immigrant population in Belgium.