SPANISH police are reportedly on alert ahead of possible altercations tomorrow related to the World Cup last-16 match between Spain and Morocco. Disturbances were seen in Belgium last week after the North African team was victorious against that country.
The Interior Ministry is observing the situation with caution, according to a report in Spanish online daily El Español, having mobilised the National Police and the Mossos d’Esquadra, the regional police force in Catalunya.
Units such as the UIP riot squad and the UPR prevention and reaction force will all be available should there be trouble.
Despite having won their match against Belgium, Morocco’s fans went on a destructive rampage in Brussels last week, destroying street furniture, vehicles and establishments.
Police officers had to resort to tear gas and water cannon, among other measures, to quell the unrest. Around 20 arrests were made, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, the radical sectors of Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid’s football teams, known as Ultra Sur and Frente Atlético, have called for ‘Spain fans’ to get out onto the streets to ‘defend Madrid’ ahead of tomorrow’s game.
The announcement was made on an online forum for radical football fans. It called on the groups to ‘join forces’ to ‘avoid acts of vandalism’ by Morocco fans and to ‘protect the streets’.
A little over 776,000 Moroccan nationals are resident in Spain, the biggest group by nationality ahead of Romania (633,000), and the UK (317,000) according to figures for 2022.