Massive riots have occurred recently in the suburbs of Brussels. Our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled a report about various incidents, beginning with a disturbance in Molenbeek. I have also added some material on the same topic from Downeast Blog.
Here’s the account from the Vlaams Belang website, translated by VH:
Cause of riots = Ramadan
[28.08.2009] After it came to a confrontation between police and a score of “youths” in the Brussels suburb Anderlecht on August 26, there was another clash on the night of August 27/28, this time in Brussels-Molenbeek.
Around midnight firefighters were called to extinguish some tires that were set on fire and left in the middle of the road. Arriving at the spot, the firefighters were pelted with stones and cobblestones by local enriched youngsters. A large police force promptly arrived at the scene, but around 2 AM some one hundred “youngsters” joined together and went on a pillage, masked and armed with iron bars and stones. They burst open two doors of a building complex of private residences and set two vehicles on fire in the courtyard.
The police carried out raids against the young criminals three times before they were finally able to drive them apart. One police officer was wounded by a projectile thrown at him, four police vehicles were damaged, and two persons were administratively detained. What was the reason for these riots in Brussels-Anderlecht and Molenbeek? Those are “drug districts”, the police chief stated.
Several sources in the Brussels security personnel, however, confirmed us that it was not drugs, but Ramadan that formed the basis of these riots. Since the beginning of the Islamic fasting, dozens of young Muslims have sought confrontation with the police. During the day it is relatively quiet, “because they are afraid of being arrested and have to spend the night in a cell without food,” the officer said. As soon as they have eaten after sunset, the heavy riots break loose.
Another source with the firefighters told us that their superiors had ordered him and his colleagues to only use the older fire engines, because they were certain to be damaged during the numerous interventions in the risky neighborhoods.
Under political pressure, the true nature of the facts is kept hidden. When will the authorities in this country finally have the courage to break the taboo about immigrant crime?
VH adds these notes:
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To be prepared for riots, at least an extra ten policemen were mobilized in Brussels-Molenbeek: especially for the Islamic fasting period. Also people are advised to avoid the area and take another route.
Molenbeek is one of the Brussels neighborhoods with the most immigrants. And during Ramadan, Molenbeek is also very popular with other Muslims, who do their shopping there for the occasion. And like every year during Ramadan, the people in Molenbeek are somewhat tensed [sic]. And as always during Ramadan, motorists are advised to avoid Steenweg op Gent and the historical center of the city (to be precise, the Zwarte Vijvers [Étangs Noirs] quarter).
“Circulation in the center of Brussels-Molenbeek is much more difficult between 15.00 and 21.00 during Ramadan. It is better to take another route if you cannot avoid having to go to the historic city center,” the police of the Brussels-zone West announced.
To avoid trouble and to reassure that the heat will not be turned up during the fasting period, Brussels-zone West will mobilize specially a dozen extra officers for the occasion, to keep an eye on the historic center of the city. Between 15.00 and 21.00, these officers will be assigned to this task, and will, if necessary, obtain support from their colleagues when the situation gets out of control and they need backup. The “Gardien de la Paix” [“peacekeepers”, non-police security] are also mobilized for this period, which will last one month.
At the beginning of Ramadan this year, the police were urged to keep a low profile when facing rioters:
To avoid an escalation in some neighborhoods, the tone had been set: “Do not seek any provocation.”
The impression of these officers — who prefer to remain anonymous out of fear of sanctions by their superiors — is clear… and it is worrying: “There indeed are areas of lawlessness in Brussels.” Neighborhoods with insurgents… They are afraid of nothing… The instructions given were simple: “Don’t cause a stir, do not search them, do not intervene, even if tens of them group together, do not to fine them for harassments or bullying, not even if they throw stones at you.”
Voilà, its out now. Some police officers have received orders to keep a low profile. This is the world turned upside-down. The criminals decide the rules of the game. And these young thugs already understand this well, as they are ever more likely to taunt the police officers on patrol in their steadily expanding area.
This applies among others to the area in the vicinity of the Anneessensplein, in the very center of Brussels.
On August 30, a patrol wanted to check the driver of a motorcycle who had been driving recklessly. The motorcyclist ran away to hide among the youths who had shown up. Taking advantage of outnumbering the patrol, they prevented the check. The reason: you are not going to check during Ramadan!
Insults followed, and finally the police had to retreat after having been pelted with concrete blocks.“One of those enrichers was arrested and brought to the prosecutor.” The next day he was out on the streets again to defy the police.
In recent days the tension became palpable in Brussels, both in the districts Anderlecht and Molenbeek. It is sad to say, but the police are used to being insulted. But the tensions are escalating now. “It’s not just ‘dirty cop’ that you hear when you pass by now, all the time we hear the same word: ambush!” This simple trick has dramatic implications for patrols, for in no time they find themselves besieged and pelted with stones, paving blocks, or concrete blocks. “They besiege us.”
To avoid an intolerable escalation, the motto is “Do not appear provocative.” Yes, a check may well be considered a provocation and then escalate any moment. “So we are told better not to go there.”
Heavy [Ramadan] riots break out in Brussels Molenbeek (translated by VH):
[17/09/09] In Brussels-Molenbeek tonight [September 17] riots broke out. Around 50 rioters pelted the police station with stones. They wanted to liberate an immigrant boy who had shortly before had been arrested by the police.
Police pelted with gas cylinders in Brussels-Molenbeek; nine officers injured (translated by VH):
[18/09/09] During riots by young enrichers in the Brussels [immigrant] district Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, nine police officers were injured yesterday evening [Sept.17]. These are officers of the Brussels-zone West and of Brussels zone Capital/Elsene. The police clashed with Molenbeek youngsters after the arrest of a young fourteen-year-old boy.
The boy had already provoked and insulted the police for several days. When the officers went to arrest him on Thursday evening at around seven o’clock in his home at the Vanderstichelenstraat [Rue Vanderstichelen], it got out of hand again. Several family members protested loudly and this led to a group of twenty people gathering around the police. When they began to throw stones, the officers withdrew and went — with the young prisoner — back to the police station in the Briefdragerstraat.
Shortly afterwards, the family of the boy went down to the police station, this time accompanied by sixty people. That led to some pushing and pulling and a number of youngsters began throwing stones at the police station. During the confrontation, the family had to flee, and two officers of Brussels-zone West were injured. One was hit in the leg by a cobblestone, and the other was dealt a heavy blow to the face.
The Brussels West police received reinforcements from other zones, with two water cannons and a Federal Police helicopter. That brought some peace back to the streets around the police station, but shortly thereafter the tension rose again in the De Ribaucourtstraat and the Leopold II-laan.
Pelted with gas cylinders
Over there youngsters in groups of ten to fifteen challenged the police and began rioting. A patrol of the Brussels-zone Capital/Elsene, which was called to provide reinforcement, was pelted with cobblestones and even large gas cylinders. This happened on the street but they were also thrown from apartment buildings. One such large gas cylinder, which was thrown from the second floor, hit an officer in the back. The officer first appeared to be seriously injured but later on it seemed to less serious than first thought. Three other officers were also injured.
Eventually it took until about 02.00 before peace returned and all the street hooligans had disappeared. Five youngsters who were caught throwing projectiles were arrested and will be brought before the public prosecutor. In total, nine officers were injured and ten patrol cars were damaged, ranging from dents in the body to smashed windscreens.
Mike at Downeast Blog reports that Vlaams Belang want the military brought in, but no one else is doing anything. He has a good screenshot of a Belgian newspaper with that headline and a military photo.
He also has a video from police, who “complain bitterly”…
This is only a part of his conclusion. Note that he says the biggest violence will come on Sunday night:
I pity the few remaining indigenous Belgians in these quarters. Almost certainly the largest part of them are elderly people wit not enough money to buy or build a house elsewhere, and who know DAMN WELL that if they sell their current house, they will get a very bad price for it.
The result is that if they DO sell it… it goes to a muslim family. And so it goes on and on and on…
… until entire neighborhoods and suburbs are almost exclusively muslim.
After which the police is denied entry. Brussels, the Capital of Europe… as a whole, already 25% muslim.
In the best Belgian tradition however, the more likely outcome will be that the cancer has to rot its way thru far more of our country before we will see such reaction. The Flemish Greens have just issued their remedy: more police officers of Moroccan descent. Yeah right.
Last night, heavy riots again. 43 “youths” arrested. Since it seems the end of Ramadan is near (Eid al Fitr on Sunday) the climax is yet to be expected. Isn’t it curious that it’s getting a tradition that every year the Police is on higher alert during the so-called muslim period of peace?
Mike has a link to a video below this and says: “Check out the fella giving passing police officers the finger(s). No reply from the cops. Why would they? If they arrest the guy, in no time they’re faced with a 50-strong crowd popping up from nowhere. Besides, a judge would order him released within seconds.”
Previous incidents of Ramadan riots (reported by VH):
As far back as in March 1992 there were immigrant riots in Brussels-Anderlecht, after a young Belgian was stabbed. The riots spread to Brussels-Sint-Gillis and Brussels-Molenbeek.
In April the rumor of the death of a young Turk created a battlefield in Brussels-Molenbeek.
In May of that year there were riots in Brussels-Vorst, Schaarbeek en Sint-Joost-ten-Node.
In November 1997 a local drug dealer was shot by the police, which caused severe immigrant riots in Brussels-Anderlecht.
In 2003 a bomb was found in Brussels-Anderlecht [Kuregem], and the Iraq “crisis” nearly lead to riots. The usual pattern seems to be: an immigrant youth is arrested, wounded or shot, and a riot follows, most often with the police as target.
In a number of years there have been riots in the Ramadan period:
- Ramadan 2005: October 4-November 4;
- Ramadan 2006: September 23-October 22;
- Ramadan 2007: September 13-October 12.
In March 2008, enriched youth in Brussels-Anderlecht threw a Molotov cocktail against a public bus, and a few days later the windows of another bus were smashed. This was revenge for recent ticket-checks at a the Metro station there.
On May 18 riots broke out, after the Cup final between Anderlecht and AA Gent, between supporters of Anderlecht and local youngsters. Afterwards, North African youth were called to deal with the white fans of the football club Anderlecht. “Set pubs, houses, and cars on fire.” This almost turned into a full-scale urban guerilla war between immigrants and football fans in Brussels-Anderlecht on Friday May 23. There were almost 200 arrests, mainly immigrants, who also attacked the police. [The same year some 100,000 illegal immigrants were legalized, mainly in Brussels. That will be repeated this year.]
During Ramadan 2008, from September 1 until September 30, there were no riots that made the headlines, though it didn’t wait much longer: in January 2009 riots broke out in Brussels-Molenbeek, following a pro-Gaza demonstration. And now riots again have broken out during Ramadan (this year from August 22 until September 19).