Belgian police clash with Muslim youths, arrest 35

ANTWERP, Belgium, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Belgian police made 35 arrests on Saturday after clashing with Moroccan teenagers who smashed car and shop windows in the port city of Antwerp on the first anniversary of the shooting death of a young Arab. As a helicopter hovered overhead, police fought sporadic street battles with groups of teenagers in the immigrant neighbourhood of Borgerhout in the country’s second city, a police spokesman said.

The youths smashed shop windows, broke windshields of parked cars and damaged bus shelters to mark the first anniversary of the shooting death of a young Arab by a white Belgian.

Tensions had been simmering in the neighbourhood for about a week since the police shooting of a young Moroccan in the nearby town of Mechelen during a robbery, the spokesman said.

About 30,000 residents of Arab origin live in Antwerp, the stronghold of the Flemish far-right Vlaams Blok party, which won a third of the city vote in the general election last May on a platform of law and order as well as tougher immigration policy.

(Additional reporting Bart Crols in Antwerp)

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