Antwerp: AEL riots + Video

Antwerp: AEL riots + Video

Below is a video from the riots today. I tried sub-titling, but couldn't get both audio and subtitles to function together. I think it's pretty self-explanatory, though. The protesters are shouting "Hamas, Jihad, Hizbullah". The AEL-Belgium chairman says that people wanted to protest and that's why they organized the demonstration, the policeman says they didn't expect it, and the imam at the end says that Islam forbids using violence against the innocents. Some of the damaged cars belonged to the protesters themselves. More info on the events in the article below.

For more on the riots in Antwerp: Antwerp: Arab riots, Jewish neighborhood sealed (UPDATED)

For more on anti-Israel protests: Oslo: Anti-Israel protest turns violent, Denmark: 'The Jews are Allah's enemies'


Thirteen hot-heads were arrested. Two policemen were injured, says Fons Bastiaenssens of the local police.

About 200-250 AEL sympathizers showed up in the Kerkstraat in Borgerhout at 2pm in order to protest the bombing of the Gaza Strip. Bastiaenssens says that it was agreed with the organizers that the demonstration will be 'static'. In other words, that the protesters would stay in the Kerkstraat. After 20 minutes a number of youth wanted to move into the city. They attack a passing bus and a police car. The organizers and older people managed to talk to them and bring them back to the square in front of the church.

When the demonstration disbanded at 3pm, a big group of hot-heads marched through the Turnhoutsebaan to the Astrid Park Plaza. They tried to reach the Jewish neighborhood through there, but the police had closed off that entrance. A second attempt through the Van Ertbornstraat and the Quellinstraat streets followed, but also there the protesters were blocked. The attempts to get into the Jewish neighborhood were coupled with riots. The protesters threw stones, trash bags and street signs at the police agents and destroyed here and there car and shop windows.

"We hadn't expected riots. We had originally chosen not to be visibly present in order not to provoke reactions. During the demonstration in the Kerkstraat there were people from our diversity cell and info present. When the situation afterward threatened to get out of hand, all free teams were called in. Thanks to the imam calm was finally restored," says the police spokesperson.

The imam escorted the protesters together with the police to the mosque in the Van Monfortstraat, where he spoke to them. At about 5pm, the worst seems to have passed. The spokesperson says that naturally they will have to see whether it will stay that way. Here and there youth are trying again to make contact with each other. The police remains alert. The federal police has meanwhile sent a water cannon to Antwerp. Two policemen were injured in the riots. One broke a jaw and the other got a heavy brick on his foot.

Sources: HLN, VRT (Dutch)

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