Brussels: nights of unrest

Brussels: nights of unrest

The past couple of nights there were various disturbances and unrest in the Brussels suburbs of Anderlecht and Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Different news reports give different accounts of what appears to be different or similar incidents.

Thursday night a stone was thrown at a police car in Moleenbeek. About an hour later youth set fire to car tires and then threw stones at the police when they showed up. The police showed up and was confronted with about a hundred youth. Several cars and doors were vandalized.

Wednesday afternoon a police patrol interrogating a victim of a violent robbery in the Anderlecht suburb of Brussels, was circled by a growing group of youth. The police felt threatened and called in reinforcements with police-hounds.

The inspection of Brahim (25) was also exceptionally difficult. Stones were thrown at the agents, and they decided to put the dogs back in the car and calm the situation. This didn't work. Brahim threw the inspector down the steps of a metro-station and beat him black-and-blue. A colleague couldn't get Brahim off the inspector and only when a third agent showed up with a hound could Brahim be kept in check. Till the last moment the young men tried to incite the crowd against the agents.

Meanwhile, the security services were dealing with a group of youth who were troubling workers at the Rustplein in Sint-Jans-Moleenbeek. Additional reinforcements were sent there too.

Elsewhere youth set fire to a parked car, in order to challenge the agents. Several minutes later, there was a confrontation between a group of a Pakistanis and a group of North Africans, the former suspecting the latter of stealing a bike. The 'suspect' had nothing to do with the case, but the atmosphere in the neighborhood was tense.

Later a police car stopped a Renault Clio in Sint-Jans-Moleenbeek. Two of its three passengers were suspected of trying to cause riots a few days earlier. One of the passengers had drugs in his possession, and the registration documents were not in order. This inspection also caused tensions, but the situation was was quickly calmed down.

It is not the first time that incidents are provoked by the youth. The procedure is always the same: The police is lured somewhere, and when they get there they discover the pavement has been smeared with slippery mud. Then the youth start throwing things at them.

The police in Anderlecht is planning more patrols, preventive measures, and talks between the municipal council and the representatives of the immigrant community.

Sources: Brusselsnieuws, Nieuwsblad (Dutch)

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