First Published: 2002-11-29

 
Riots in Antwerp sparked by killing of Moroccan
 

Belgium clamps down after north African immigrants clash with police to protest against Moroccan's murder.

 

Middle East Online

20 people remain in jail, out of 160 who were arrested during unrest

ANTWERP, Belgium - Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt condemned Thursday riots in Antwerp sparked by the killing of a young immigrant, and said he was considering banning an Islamic group in the northern city.

"If necessary we will ban the European Arab League (EAL), but we will do it within the framework of the law and in line with the inquiry which prosecutors are currently pursuing," he told parliament.

Twenty people remained in jail Thursday, out of the 160 who were arrested during the unrest Tuesday and Wednesday in the city, which has a large immigrant population and is a bastion of the far-right.

Between 200 and 250 young protestors, mostly of north African origin, clashed with police for several hours Wednesday evening.

The unrest occurred in the Antwerp district where a 27-year-old Moroccan, a teacher of Islamic religion, was beaten to death on Tuesday by the neighbour of his father.

Stones were thrown and windows and cars were damaged in initial unrest after the killing, and the clashes resumed Wednesday.

Antwerp, Belgian's second city, is a stronghold of the far-right Vlaams Blok party which won more than a third of the votes in municipal elections in October 2000.

The city is home to a large immigrant population, mainly from Morocco and Turkey.

The 66-year-old Belgian suspected of the murder was arrested the same day, and is under arrest pending further investigations.

In initial questioning he appeared "confused," and it was unclear if there was any racist motivation for the attack, said Dominique Reyniers, a prosecution office spokeswoman.

The EAL caused a storm earlier this month when it began organizing patrols to guard against anti-Muslim discrimination by police, amid heightened security due to terrorist threats.

The EAL has some 100 members and has no links with the Arab League, according to the Belgian press. It is headed by Dyab Abou JahJah, a Lebanese-born local Muslim who has caused controversy since September 11 by a number of statements.

He has notably called for Arabic to be recognized as a fourth official language in Belgium, after French, Dutch and German.

On Thursday the EAL said it would sue Antwerp mayor Leona Detiege for defamation. "Detiege has said many things about us which he cannot prove, giving people a wrong impression of us and of our cause," said EAL official Ahmed Azzuz.

 

New government in Yemen plus cut in fuel prices

11 Egypt policemen killed in Sinai bomb blast

US army back in Somalia

Paris, Riyadh 'finalising' $3bn Lebanon arms deal

Sudan orders Iran to close cultural centres

Israel faces mounting criticism over Palestinian land grab

Saudi Arabia arrests 88 suspected extremists in 'anti-terror' drive

New UN chief for South Sudan faces ‘huge challenge’

US air strikes target senior Shebab officials in Somalia

‘Scourge of terrorism’ pushes Africa to intensify cooperation

Relatives of missing Iraq soldiers storm parliament in Baghdad

IS accused of 'systematic ethnic cleansing' in Iraq

UK announces tougher measures against Britons planning jihad

Algeria hosts new round of Mali peace talks

US launches new round of air strikes around Iraq dam

Turkey summons US charge d'affaires over Snowden claims

Turkey new PM promises peace with Kurds

Will UN Human Rights Council investigate IS abuses?

Iran convicts Ahmadinejad's vice president for embezzlement

Fierce clashes shatter uneasy calm near armistice line in Golan Heights

Turkey detains dozens of police in new nationwide raids

Libya loses control of Tripoli to Islamist-led militias

Thousands of Huthis defy UN in new show of strength

Iraq presses fightback against jihadist-led militants

Wounded Gazans need long-term care

Britain to go tougher on jihadist suspects

Libyan Islamist militiamen control US embassy compound

Israel shoots down drone over occupied Golan Heights

Yemen army suffers heavy losses in new wave of Qaeda attacks

Turkish army breaks silence on Kurdish peace talks

Islamic State offers grim inspiration to African extremists

Shebab target intelligence HQ in Somalia

Israel expropriates 988 acres of Palestinian land in West Bank

Iraq recaptures Amerli from Islamic State in biggest success so far

Saudi King calls for ‘strong and rapid action’ against jihadists

Jihadists distribute Yazidi women as spoils of war to fighters

Gulf countries resolve six-month dispute with Qatar

Egypt reduces Badie death sentence to life in prison

AU forces liberate former Shebab stronghold in Somalia

Philippines enters war in Syria!

Kurds put aside old rivalries to battle jihadists in Iraq

Iran says new sanctions cast doubt on US sincerity

US imposes new sanctions on Iran

US supplies arms to Lebanon to fight jihadists

Britain terror threat level raised to ‘severe’