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Burning car. Screen shot from Breizh-info

Hiding the number of cars burned in France during CAN celebrations

The French Minister of the Interior does not want to communicate the real figures on the number of cars torched after the victory of Algeria on July 14, but the SGP Unit speaks of "false excuse".

Published: July 16, 2019, 11:49 am


    Christophe Castaner announced on July 15 that the authorities would not communicate the figures so as not to incite additional excesses on July 19 when the final match of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) is played.

    Place Beauvau preferred to communicate the number of people arrested in France on the night of the victory of Algeria in the CAN semi-finals: 282. This choice not to communicate, however, provoked controversy within professional police representations.

    Frédéric Lagache, general delegate of the Alliance trade union supported Castaner by declaring: “It’s a decision that unfortunately has to be accepted. In the face of irresponsible wackers, it is better to avoid the contest of which one who will burn the most cars.”

    But Linda Kebbab, national delegate of the union Unity-GSP-FO, also contacted by AFP, expressed anger over the decision: “The fear of overbidding is a false excuse, as the offenders do not go looking for articles from previous years. Not communicating the figures, is to erase the work of the police.”

    Algerian supporters celebrating the victory of Algeria against Nigeria in the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations (CAN), took to the streets of Paris causing post-victory troubles.

    A member of the Autonomous Collective of the police of Ile-de-France, defended the police officers in the field, and estimated that the media strategy of the Ministry of the Interior falls under the “retention of information”.

    They expressed regret that the Ministry focused on the Paris region only “while the province has also been the scene of depredations and urban violence”. And to quote as an example: “In Evreux, we were taken to task and more than a hundred grenades were launched in the evening. But nobody talks about what’s going on in the regions, apart from the local press … Apparently, we should not say that the suburbs and sensitive sectors are ready to burn at any moment.”

    Jean-Pierre Colombies, retired police commander and spokesman for the Union of Independent National Police, said: “Useless to seek the real figures, since they are totally phony anyway, and this for several reasons: on the one hand the department systematically underestimates, on the other hand, opportunists who can no longer insure their vehicles to scam insurance during outbreaks of violence.

    “Moreover, the rioters are also engaged in a numbers contest trying to be the worst suburb… The contest of numbers takes place on both sides of the law!”

    In 2017 and 2018, the number of cars burned on French territory on July 14 amounted to 897 and 845, according to official data. In 2019, the unofficial figures show 195 cars burned in Paris, according to figures provided by concordant police sources quoted by 20 Minutes. The figure is down from 212 vehicles burned last year.

    AFP also reported that this figure is down compared to July 14, 2018: 212 vehicles went up in smoke in the country’s capital. But the question will arise again during the CAN final on July 19: will Christophe Castaner once again not communicate such numbers to the French?

    The CAN final between Algeria and Senegal will take place next Friday.

    While violent clashes erupted after the victory of the Algerian team in the semi-finals in Paris, Lyon and Marseille, a final success for the team would probably cause even greater excesses.

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