France – A total of 874 cars were set on fire during New Year’s Eve celebrations in France, French police said. Car burnings have virtually become an annual event in the French suburbs since the 2005 riots in several cities. However, the Home Office said the number is much lower than it was in 2019, due to the coronavirus-related restrictions in place.
The authorities also reported an increase in the number of people arrested and detained.
French media reported that about 95,000 police and gendarmes were mobilized during the New Year celebrations – including 32,000 firefighters and security personnel. In Paris, where masks are again made mandatory, 779 people have been fined for not wearing masks.
But with restrictions linked to the coronavirus, that number is lower than in previous years, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
A total of 1,316 cars were set on fire in 2019, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Interior on Saturday. However, more people were taken in for questioning than in previous years, with 441 compared to 376 in 2019.
There is no information on burning cars last year due to a national barrier in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.
Like many countries, France sees cars on fire throughout the year for many reasons, including gangs hiding evidence of their crimes and people making false insurance claims. But burning cars took a new step in France as it became a way to celebrate the coming of the New Year. It is assumed that the practice began in earnest among young people – often in poor neighborhoods – in the 1990s, in the region around Strasbourg in eastern France.
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And in Strasbourg, 31 people were arrested for questioning after cars and trash cans caught fire. Six of those questioned were minors who had violated the curfew, while the rest were linked to an alleged arson, according to authorities in Strasbourg, who also confirmed that four police officers had sustained minor injuries.
In a statement, authorities said that despite coronavirus restrictions in the central French province of Yonne, authorities said an illegal party of 1,500 people was still going on Saturday noon local time, as police forces on the ground tried to control the situation.
The statement added that an investigation would be opened into “the illegal organization of a festive music gathering.”
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