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Rioting and shooting mar year’s end

Published on 02/01/2006

2 January 2006

BRUSSELS — New Year’s celebrations in Belgium on Saturday night were marred by several violent incidents, highlighted by rioting in Spa and a shooting death in Brussels.

Shortly after midnight, a violent argument over noise flared between two families who live opposite each other in the Brussels district of Sint-Joost.

Three people were injured in the confrontation and shots were then fired shortly after. One of the fathers was killed after being hit by three bullets. The mother of the same family was shot in the hip.

The suspected killer — born in 1978 — fled the scene, but police have confirmed his identity. The man has a criminal background.

In Liège, a man was arrested for attempted murder after he allegedly attacked a friend with a knife shortly after midnight. The victim was taken to hospital with a neck wound.

Saturday’s New Year’s celebrations in the Casino in Spa were also marred by rioting forcing the closure of the gaming room as police moved in.

Preceded by minor incidents, severe rioting broke out at about 4.15am as two rival gangs — one from Verviers the other from Liège — clashed in the casino and later in the vicinity of Rue Royale after police closed the gaming room.

Some 250 people were involved in the violence and two people were injured. Rioters threw stones and bottles at local police, but reinforcements helped bring the situation under control.

The rioters have been identified and investigations are underway, but no arrests have been made, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.

In Oostende, police arrested 11 people after various fights broke out in the Flemish seaside city. The fights took place in the vicinity of the nightclub Hangar 1 at the harbour and in the city’s nightlife district.

One person was arrested after he attacked a police car, while police intercepted two cars involved in a city centre street race. One of the drivers had his licence immediately suspended for 15 days.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news