Antwerp and Brussels are bracing for Morocco’s match: “But there is no point in speculating about what can happen” (Binnenland)
The quarter-final between Morocco and Portugal, which starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, is regarded as a high-risk match. A greater gain or loss is expected that large groups of supporters of Moroccan descent will congregate in the inner cities.
In Brussels, the police are preparing for possible incidents. “Agents will be visibly present on the grounds in the capital,” says police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere. “The various police zones work together with the federal police. There has also been consultation with people from the Moroccan community. The coordination will take place from the regional crisis center, where all partners involved will be present.”
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Also the Brussels mayor Philippe Closes the situation of takeover. “In the crisis center, camera images are analyzed and the mayor, together with the chiefs of police, will decide where to intervene,” says spokeswoman Carole Poncin of the Close cabinet. “The approach will be similar to that of Morocco’s previous matches at the World Cup. There is no point in speculating in advance about what may or may not happen.”
The Antwerp police are also preparing for if things get out of hand on Saturday. On December 6, a few people were arrested in Antwerp, among other things after a police station in Kiel was attacked after the match between Spain and Morocco. “But the vast majority of people have made a party of it,” said Willem Migom of the Antwerp police.
“We make an analysis and determine based on our commitment. We have made the preparations that we believe are necessary and ready,” says Migom. He also praises the activities of the elderly and young people from the Moroccan community, who use a human chain to calm down the mood. “We are in close contact with youth workers and street workers, who try to avoid confrontations. We can only applaud that there are people who urge calm.”
READ ALSO. Why was the atmosphere on the Kiel grimmer than on the Turnhoutsebaan? “Young people feel abandoned”
For fear of riots after Saturday’s game, shared cars and scooters must disappear from the streets in certain neighborhoods in Brussels, to prevent certain vehicles from going up in flames again, as happened in the capital after the duel between the Red Devils and Morocco.
(Read more below the photo)
From a red shared car belonging to Poppy that was destroyed, tipped over on its roof and finally set on fire, moving images of the world go around. “Those vandalisms were shared from all sides with smartphones, shared on the internet and all resulted in spectacular television images,” says Poppy CEO Sylvain Nizet.
“Of course we reported it to the police, but I didn’t expect the perpetrators to become. We pay for the wrecked car ourselves, which is Total loss. This will cost us about 10,000 euros. It’s frustrating, but our company has 950 vehicles, so financially this is not an insurmountable driveway. But everyone now hopes that Saturday will mainly be a party,” concludes Nizet.