Gates of Vienna

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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.

Ramadan

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.”

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