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Hundreds of cars burned throughout France for start of 2019

Despite a significant mobilization of security personnel to maintain public order, New Year's Eve was marked by arson in France.

Published: January 2, 2019, 8:35 am

    Every year has seen the same violence, and this year was no exception to the rule: hundreds of vehicles were destroyed by flames throughout the country, during the night of December 31 to January 1.

    The regional press reported many cases of arson in several departments. In Rhone, the prefecture said that fifty cars were burned, according to Le Progrès. The numbers were similar to last year, says the daily.

    In the Paris region, Le Parisien reported 277 cars burned, including 148 in Paris and the departments of the small region. Some 99 vehicles were burned in immigrant-populated Seine-Saint-Denis alone. According to the newspaper, some fires may have been triggered in order to defraud insurance companies.

    In the Yvelines, 54 cars were destroyed, a figure “notably higher” than last year, mainly in the district of Val-Fourre and Trappes, where three teenagers aged 15 to 17 were arrested by the police. Both areas boast large Muslim majorities.

    In Bouches-du-Rhone, state broadcaster France 3 described a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve with 22 burned vehicles in the department. Regional daily Nice Matin counted a hundred arson cases on the Côte d’Azur, “spread over Grasse, Vallauris and Nice”.

    In Nantes, a socio-cultural center in the north of the city was burned according to France Bleu Loire Océan, and hostile responses to police actions were noted.

    Finally, cases of arson have been reported in several cities such as Brest, Reims, Colmar, Valencia, Montelimar, St. Nazaire, Vannes, Rouen or Le Havre.

    According to the Ministry of the Interior, 147 935 “personnel, police, civil security and military Operation Sentinel officers”, dedicated to public order, were mobilized to ensure the smooth running of the night leading into the New Year.

    This figure is slightly higher than the previous year, when only 140 000 security forces were deployed.

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