Nine law enforcement officers were injured Thursday night in Molenbeek, a suburb of Brussels, when they clashed with Islamic Moroccan youth after trying to detain a youth who had provoked police surveilling the community during Ramadan.
After several days of intentional provocation by the 14-year old youth, authorities went to his residence to detain him where they were met with loud protests by the boy's family. As they tried to remove the boy a mob of approximately twenty people circled the law enforcement officers and started to throw stones and other projectiles. Law enforcement officers had to employ pepper-spray in order to hold off the crowd as they took the boy into custody.
The family of the boy soon arrived at the police station with as many as sixty people in tow. In short order, the mob became unruly and began to throw stones, smash windows and damage police cars.
Police spokesman Johan Berckmans said the police had identified the 14-year old youth as the individual who harassed and threatened law enforcement officers during their routine patrols of Muslim neighborhoods during the annual Ramadan observance.
During the incident at the police station local law enforcement had requested reinforcements from the Brussels capitol. After the rioters were dispersed, Muslim rioters moved the anarchy to nearby locations.
Law enforcement employed water cannon, a helicopter and approximately 100 law enforcement officers to quell the situation. In all, nine law enforcement officers were injured, one seriously.
The national police union has asked for urgent action by the national government regarding the continued unrest emanating from the Muslim community there. NSPV spokesman Philip Van Hamme said more law enforcement and security personnel should be immediately added to the permanent and preventive services and that preventive patrols should be significantly expanded.
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