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.

 

Saudi Arabia vows to cover UN aid appeal for Yemen

'Differences' emerge in Libya peace talks

Israel pledges to transfer frozen taxes to Palestinian Authority

Unidentified gunman opens fire on pro-Kurdish party office in Turkey

Iraq PM's spokesman resigns over pro-Saddam song

Tunisia prevents departure of more than 12,000 would-be jihadists

Iraqi forces kill Hussein deputy in Salahuddin province

Iraq massacre site turns into memorial

Israeli coalition talks approaching deadline

Turkish PM condemns EU resolution on Armenian genocide

Tehran calls for immediate Yemen peace talks

Assad accuses Turkey of torpedoing UN Aleppo truce plan

New round of Libya rival talks in Morocco

EU urged to label Israeli West bank products

General Dempsey: Military option on Iran 'intact'

UN chief calls for immediate Yemen ceasefire

Abadi to Iran: We welcome your help as long as you respect Iraq sovereignty

Anger in Indonesia as Saudi Arabia executes second woman

France jihadist attacks fuel unprecedented rise in Islamophobia

Turkey mine chief: ‘I am not a murderer’

France sees progress in Rafale jet negotiations with UAE

Lebanese TV contempt trial opens at slain Hariri tribunal

Fresh round of Iran nuclear talks April 22-23 in Vienna

Yemen calls on renegade army units to drop support for Huthis

UN envoy condemns Libya air strike as 'unacceptable'

African migrants’ hope of reaching Europe dashed

Armenian senior advisor to Turkish PM retires

Egypt to demolish ousted Mubarak’s party HQ

Slow turnout in Sudan polls

UN peace envoy to Yemen quits

Reconquest of all of Anbar remains out of reach for now

Iran holds Obama 'accountable' for fate of nuclear agreement

Arab coalition mulls large-scale manoeuvre in preparation for ‘ground assault’

Libya appeals for Russia support over arms embargo

Turkey vows to brush off any EU genocide decision

Bashir heads toward widely expected victory with ‘empty ballot boxes’

Rebels in southern Syria reject all forms of cooperation with Qaeda affiliate

21 million children in MENA region at risk of having no education

Two military cadets killed in Egypt bombing

Egypt, Saudi consider holding joint military exercise

Kerry 'confident' US can reach Iran nuclear deal

Libya rival talks in Algiers 'great success'

World powers up pressure on Yemen rebels

HRW cites 'strong' evidence of Syria regime chemical attacks

UN Security Council blacklists Houthi leaders