The statue Of one of France's historic leaders was the target of an act of vandalism on the sidelines of Algeria's victory at the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday.
On the night of Friday 19 to Saturday 20 July, while their national football team had just won the African Cup of Nations, Algerian supporters damaged a statue of General de Gaulle in Evreux. The images were circulated on social networks, relayed in particular by deputy Éric Ciotti, who called for “exemplary sanctions”.
It shows the Arab perpetrators of the act of vandalism, encouraged by a cheering crowd. They all cheer when the statue finally hits the ground. The mayor of the city, Guy Lefrand, has since lodged a complaint for damages.
“Following the final, some young people went down to the centre of the town and started rodeos and then went after public facilities. They eventually attacked the statue: it was broken off above the feet, above the seal. When all this happened, the municipal police intervened to store it away safely,” authorities commented in remarks reported by regional daily L’Est Républicain.
On the sidelines of Algeria’s victory against Senegal in the final of the African Cup of Nations (CAN), many excesses took place everywhere in France. Some 177 arrests were registered, with 69 for the capital alone.
The football match was played in Egypt, Cairo, and France was not represented and did not participate in the competition.
And despite France not being implicated in the final of the African Cup of Nations, in which teams opposing Senegal and Algeria played, the Champs-Élysées in Paris and fifteen other major cities were transformed into no-man’s land for French citizens for one night by allowing Algerian fans to celebrate their victory.
But their excesses are apparently to not open to criticism, as any negative comments are now perceived as an attack on the “values of sport”.
Police had to be deployed on the streets in their thousands ahead of Algeria’s CAN final against Senegal after fans rioted across the country, particularly in the capital Paris, when Algeria beat Nigeria in the semi-final.
Around 2 500 police officers had to be mobilised around the Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe alone.
In one incident, a Parisian scooter shop was looted during the match. France is home to thousands of non-integrated dual nationals supporting the Algerian team.
And most supporters expressed their joy at reaching the final by parading Algerian flags on the streets. Violence has regularly flared up in France after major football games involving Algeria including during World Cup games in 2014
National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen has proposed stripping rioters of their French nationality. “Their victories are our nightmare,” a RN spokesman Sebastien Chenu said. “Whenever there’s a match with Algeria… there are problems.”
Police reports confirmed that 282 people were arrested due to riotous behaviour during the play-off, either targeting officers with projectiles or looting, with 169 arrests in Paris.
“Like lots of French people, I was shocked to see French people take down the French flag and put up the Algerian one,” conservative politican Nicolas Dupont-Aignan told AFP.
Dupont-Aignan said the French-born Algeria fans a should “go back” to north Africa if their preference was for Algeria.
“I want to ask these young people, who are a minority I hope: France has welcomed you, fed you, educated you, looked after you, but if you prefer Algeria, if it’s better than France, go back to Algeria!”