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Brussels Police Fire Water Cannon As Right-Wing Protesters Trample Attacks Memorial

'We are all here today for peace, not for right-wing ideas.'

03/27/2016 08:39 pm 20:39:23 | Updated 27 March 2016

Belgian riot police clashed with hundreds of right-wing protesters at a temporary shrine honoring victims of the Brussels suicide bombings, as scuffles broke out at the symbolic location.

Police used water cannon on Sunday in front of the Brussels stock exchange building, which has become a rallying point for people to pay their respects to those who died in Tuesday's attacks.

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Black-clad men carrying an anti-Islamic State group banner with an expletive on it trampled parts of the shrine, shouting Nazi slogans, The Associated Press reported. Ten were arrested and two police officers injured.

"We had 340 hooligans from different football clubs who came to Brussels and we knew for sure that they would create some trouble," Police Commissioner Christian De Coninck said. "It was a very difficult police operation because lots of families with kids were here."

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 Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur expressed his disgust, with Belgium still in mourning over the suicide bombings at Brussels airport and subway, which killed at least 31 people and injured some 270.

"The police were not deployed to protect people from these hooligans but a whole other threat," said Mayeur told RTL television.

People trying to pay their respects were also dismayed.

"It was important for us to be here symbolically," said Samia Orosemane, a 35-year-old comedian. But, she added, "there were lots of men who were here and doing the Nazi salute, shouting 'death to Arabs' and so we weren't able to get through."

"We are all here today for peace, and for the brotherhood among peoples. Not for right-wing ideas. It's neither the time nor the place," said Theophile Mouange, 52.

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  • Anti-riot police officers surround far right hooligans who disturbed a tribute to the victims of terror attacks on Place de la Bourse in Brussels, on March 27, 2016. Police fired water a cannon at far-right football hooligans who invaded a square in the Belgian capital that has become a memorial to the victims of the Brussels attacks, an AFP journalist said. Police took action after about 200 black-clad hooligans shouting nationalist and anti-immigrant slogans moved in on the Place de la Bourse where people were gathering in a show of solidarity with the victims. / AFP / BELGA / KRISTOF VAN ACCOM (Photo credit should read KRISTOF VAN ACCOM/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Police use a water cannon to disperse far-right football hooligans outside the stock exchange in Brussels on March 27, 2016 an area which has become an unofficial shrine to victims of the March 22, terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group in which 31 people were killed and over 300 injured. Police used a water cannon to disperse far-right football hooligans outside the stock exchange in Brussels, where people have laid floral tributes to the victims of the March 22, terror attacks on the city. / AFP / Belga / NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Right wing demonstrators protest at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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  • Far-right football hooligans chant slogans as they hold a banner of the 'FCK-Casuals' hooligan movement, as they arrive in the square outside the stock exchange in Brussels on March 27, 2016 an area which has become an unofficial shrine to victims of the March 22, terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group in which 31 people were killed and over 300 injured. Police fired water a cannon at far-right football hooligans who invaded a square in the Belgian capital that has become a memorial to the victims of the Brussels attacks, an AFP journalist said. Police took action after about 200 black-clad hooligans shouting nationalist and anti-immigrant slogans moved in on the Place de la Bourse where people were gathering in a show of solidarity with the victims. / AFP / Belga / NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Masked and hooded men arrive outside the stock exchange in Brussels on March 27, 2016 as tensions mounted after the square was invaded by some 200 far-right football hooligans. Police fired water a cannon at far-right football hooligans who invaded a square in the Belgian capital that has become a memorial to the victims of the Brussels attacks, an AFP journalist said. Police took action after about 200 black-clad hooligans shouting nationalist and anti-immigrant slogans moved in on the Place de la Bourse where people were gathering in a show of solidarity with the victims. / AFP / Belga / KRISTOF VAN ACCOM / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read KRISTOF VAN ACCOM/AFP/Getty Images)
  • NICOLAS MAETERLINCK via Getty Images
  • People gather to pay a tribute outside the stock exchange in Brussels on March 27, 2016 which has become an unofficial shrine to victims of the March 22, terror attacks, was invaded by some 200 far-right football hooligans. Police used a water cannon to disperse far-right football hooligans outside the stock exchange in Brussels, where people have laid floral tributes to the victims of the March 22, terror attacks on the city. / AFP / Belga / NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Right wing demonstrators protest at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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  • Riot police attend a memorial site during a protest by right wing demonstrators at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
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  • Riot police line up in as right wing demonstrators protest at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
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  • Right wing demonstrators protest at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)
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  • Right wing demonstrators run on flowers as they protest at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
  • NICOLAS MAETERLINCK via Getty Images
  • Workers of Brussels' public transport company STIB-MIVB gather to pay a tribute in the square outside the stock exchange in Brussels on March 27, 2016 an area which has become an unofficial shrine to victims of the March 22, terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group in which 31 people were killed and over 300 injured. Police fired water a cannon at far-right football hooligans who invaded a square in the Belgian capital that has become a memorial to the victims of the Brussels attacks, an AFP journalist said. Police took action after about 200 black-clad hooligans shouting nationalist and anti-immigrant slogans moved in on the Place de la Bourse where people were gathering in a show of solidarity with the victims. / AFP / Belga / NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Right wing demonstrators chant slogans next to one of the memorials to the victims of the recent Brussels attacks, at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital with security services under pressure, Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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  • Right wing demonstrators chant slogans next to one of the memorials to the victims of the recent Brussels attacks, at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims."We understand fully the emotions," Interior Minister Jan Jambon told reporters. "We understand that everyone wants to express these feelings."(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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  • Two people hold hands as they protect one of the memorials to the victims of the recent Brussels attacks from right wing protesters at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims."We understand fully the emotions," Interior Minister Jan Jambon told reporters. "We understand that everyone wants to express these feelings."(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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  • Police in riot gear protect one of the memorials to the victims of the recent Brussels attacks, a right wing demonstrators protest near the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims."We understand fully the emotions," Interior Minister Jan Jambon told reporters. "We understand that everyone wants to express these feelings."(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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  • Police in riot gear sweep the area in front of the old bourse clear of right wing demonstrators next to one of the memorials to the victims of the recent Brussels attacks, at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims."We understand fully the emotions," Interior Minister Jan Jambon told reporters. "We understand that everyone wants to express these feelings."(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Right wing demonstrators protest at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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  • A right wing demonstrator walks on flowers as they protest at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016. In a sign of the tensions in the Belgian capital and the way security services are stretched across the country, Belgium's interior minister appealed to residents not to march Sunday in Brussels in solidarity with the victims. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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