The world of Soccer is a passionate one. When teams from different countries face off, there is always the potential for conflict and anger. This was demonstrated this week when Morocco upset Belgium in the FIFA 22 World Cup playoffs.
The recent riots in Brussels after the Morocco national football team managed to defeat Belgium with a 2-0 scoreline can be seen as a clear indication of how Football and sport can generally stir strong emotions among fans.
In this case, it would appear that many Moroccan immigrants living in Brussels felt immense joy and pride at their country’s victory over a nation that is often considered higher on the social hierarchy. This led to scenes of celebration amongst them, which provoked reactions from some native Belgians who saw this as an affront to their sense of identity and superiority.
This was a devastating loss for Belgium, especially considering that they are considered one of the favorites to win this year’s tournament. For many Moroccans living in Belgium, it was an opportunity to celebrate their culture and national pride – but things got out of hand very quickly.
The ensuing violence involved damage being caused to property and vehicles and stone pelting, resulting in several injuries. What started as a celebration quickly turned into riots in the streets of Brussels after Morocco defeated Belgium in the Worldcup. Cars were set on fire, and police had to use water cannons and tear gas to disperse the angry crowds pelting each other with stones.
“Those are not fans, they are rioters. Moroccan Fans are there to celebrate,” Mr Close said.
Additionally, there were commotions in the cities of Liege and Antwerp.
“Sad to see how a few individuals abuse a situation to run amok,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.
The riots in Brussels after Morocco’s shocking victory over Belgium in the FIFA World Cup can be seen as a sign of frustration among some sections of Belgium society. While it is understandable that some Belgians may feel anger or resentment towards their Moroccan neighbors following the riots, it is important not to tar an entire community with the same brush.
Most Moroccans living in Belgium are law-abiding citizens who contribute positively to Belgian society. They should not be held responsible for the actions of a minority who engaged in criminal behavior during the riots.
It is also worth noting that many young Moroccans were victims of violence during the clashes with police officers. Rocks and other objects were reportedly thrown at them indiscriminately by both sides, leaving many injured or even dead. This highlights how dangerous and counterproductive such clashes can be, regardless of what side one might take on them.
It is still unclear what specifically sparked the violence, but tensions between different communities in Brussels came to a head during this emotional game. Football can often be used as an outlet for people’s frustrations, and unfortunately, these riots have caused significant economic and social damage.
It’s worth noting that similar protest have occurred after other big sporting events abroad, such as when Qatar won hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. These incidents highlight how sports can sometimes bring out strong feelings of nationalism and identity that can lead people to engage in destructive behavior.