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Football fans and African youths clash in Brussels
May 23, 2008 / 10:30 PM / 10 years ago

Football fans and African youths clash in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - More than 200 Anderlecht football fans and youths of African origin clashed on Friday in fighting organised on the Internet which left police officers injured and led to widespread vandalism, a police spokesman said.

Youth clash with Belgian riot police in Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels May 23, 2008. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

“We have made a number of arrests, but we are so busy at the moment, we will have to wait until the trouble is over before we can give out any more information,” the spokesman said.

“A number of our police officers have been injured. We don’t know how seriously yet.”

Television pictures showed police using tear gas and water cannon to defend themselves from a barrage of stones and bottles during the clashes near Anderlecht’s stadium in Brussels.

The rioting, which forced the closure of four nearby metro stations, began at around 6 p.m. British time and lasted for four hours before police eventually gained control.

Police said the violence had been organised through a Web site calling for an “attack on all white fans of football club Anderlecht”.

It was prompted by a confrontation between Anderlecht fans and a group of youths of north African origin after Anderlecht’s Belgian cup final victory last Sunday.

Reporting by Darren Ennis; editing by Andrew Roche

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