Youths blamed for violent Islamic protest
13 February 2006, BRUSSELS — Antwerp police arrested 55 people after Saturday's Islamic protest against the Danish cartoons of Mohammed was marred by violence and vandalism.
13 February 2006
BRUSSELS — Antwerp police arrested 55 people after Saturday's Islamic protest against the Danish cartoons of Mohammed was marred by violence and vandalism.
Some 22 youths were among those arrested. However, 53 people were only held for a short period for "administrative" reasons while two people were remanded in custody. One of them is charged with assaulting a police officer.
The arrests were carried out after Islamic protestors — primarily young immigrants — attacked police with bottles and stones in Antwerp on Saturday.
The youths were also charged with vandalism, including a tram and nine cars. Police blamed the violence was on "a stubborn, aggressive core of about 100 youths", newspaper 'De Standaard' reported.
Some 500 Muslims had gathered on the Antwerp city square Groenplaats (Green Place) at about 3pm.
The protest started peacefully as especially older Muslims requested respect for the prophet Mohammed and held their midday prayers on the city square.
Despite efforts to stage a peaceful protest, organisers could not prevent a large group of people marching towards the Grote Market (Great Market), where violent clashes between police and protestors ensued.
Older Muslims succeeded in persuading many youths against participating in the violence, assembling them in the Borgerhout mosque. However, about 100 youths remained behind as they vandalised cars and clashed with police.
In Brussels, some 200 Muslims gathered on the Brouckère Square, but the demonstration there passed off largely without incident. Eight people were briefly detained by police.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news