En Bélgica también quemaron carros

BRUSSELS, Belgium (Reuters) — Youths set fire to 15 vehicles across Belgium in a fourth night of attacks that authorities said looked like imitations of violence in France, leading the far right to call for the expulsion of the perpetrators.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt told Reuters in Singapore the burning of cars in Belgian cities were «isolated incidents» and said they was not comparable to the riots in France, which he described as a «very serious, serious situation.»
The arson attacks late on Wednesday have not sparked worse violence across Belgium, which like France has big Muslim and African immigrant populations.
«Burnt-out cars are rare in Belgium,» a spokesman for a government crisis center said on Thursday. «This seems to be an attempt to imitate what is happening in France.»
Ten cars were set ablaze in Brussels, with the others in Antwerp and the smaller towns of Lokeren, Mechelen and Ledeberg, the centre said in a statement. There were a number of arrests.
Brussels firefighters were called out 25 times to deal with attempted arson attacks, including three petrol bombs.
Belgium has a large immigrant population, many of Moroccan origin, with high unemployment among the young. But unlike France, it does not have a high concentration of immigrants in ghetto-like areas around major cities.
The far-right Vlaams Belang party — which captured 25 percent of the vote during regional elections in the northern Flanders region last year — has called for the expulsion of the perpetrators should they turn out to be immigrants.
«(They) are no longer welcome in our country,» Filip Dewinter, a top party leader, said in a statement on his personal Web site.
«In the case of foreigners, they need to be expelled. In the case of foreigners who hold the Belgian nationality, they need to be stripped of their nationality,» he said.
Belgian officials have tried to forestall violence by stepping up police patrols and increasing dialogue with migrant community leaders.
Violence in French cities has decreased after the government revived emergency powers to curb two weeks of unrest.
Verhofstadt, touring Asian cities to attract international investment to Belgium with corporate tax cuts, said there had been no European talks so far about the French unrest.
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