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Urban violence. Photo credit: Adam Wilson

Urban violence ushers in New Year in France, Germany

In 2021, scenes of urban violence were witnessed throughout France despite the Corona curfew. There were 662 arrests, with 25 police officers and gendarmes injured.

Published: January 2, 2021, 11:59 am

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    The French Ministry of the Interior did not give a quantified assessment for material damage suffered by the state or persons.

    In total, 45 400 police checks were carried out and 6 650 tickets for non-compliance with the curfew were handed out by the internal security forces.

    Even if the incidents were less numerous than in previous years, some individuals targeted, sometimes in a very violent way, the police with the use of fireworks. These attacks led the police and gendarmes to carry out 662 arrests and to place 407 individuals in police custody.

    The police and gendarmerie enforced curfew measures throughout the country, the Ministry of the Interior said in a statement.

    In Angers, 41 vehicles were set on fire during the night of December 31 to January 1 and mobile gendarmes, police officers and firefighters were targeted by fireworks.

    Many fireworks were set off during the evening, despite the prohibition on sale thereof decided by the prefect, reported Ouest-France.

    The police intervened many times on New Year’s Eve in Bordeaux and its metropolis for urban violence and non-compliance with the curfew. Fireworks mortars were observed, as well as about thirty burned cars. Building were also set on fire even before the New Year started, according to regional daily Sud-Ouest.

    Several dozen vehicles were reportedly set on fire overnight in the heart of Lyon, in the Minguettes district in Vaulx-en-Velin, Vénissieux, Bron and Rillieux-la-Pape. These districts all happen to be immigrant areas.

    Fireworks were also set ablaze in several places in the metropolitan area of Lyon, in particular in Bron, just a few hundred meters from the checkpoint organized by the Prefecture and in the presence of the Prefect Pascal Mailhos shortly after 8 pm on Thursday, December 31, reported.

    Three cars burned in Mantes-la-Jolie between in the Val-Fourré district. In the last case, the police were targeted.

    In Nantes, the police and firefighters were targeted by fireworks in several neighborhoods. Vehicles and garbage cans were set on fire in several districts: Malakoff, Bottière, northern and southern districts, reported le Parisien.

    For the city of Nice, nearly 45 trash fires were identified and 17 cars burned. Four vehicles of firefighters from the Bon Voyage barracks were targeted by stone throwing, fortunately without causing any injuries. Police and gendarmerie crews were also targeted, in particular in the Ariane district in Nice, in Drap in that of Condamine and in the Vignasses district in La Trinité, all immigrant areas.

    The New Year’s Eve was also punctuated by the fire of some sixty vehicles in Strasbourg, Schiltigheim, Ostwald and Mutzig.

    In Toulouse, twenty vehicles were set on fire during New Year’s Eve. Targeted by fireworks on rue Paul-Gauguin, police officers from the Anti-Crime Brigade (BAC) were the focus during the night.

    The Real Estate Agency of the City of Paris (RiVP) did not want to take any risks. On the eve of New Year’s Eve, as for Christmas, it had asked all its Parisian employees not to take out the trash. The order was issued via a document posted in the 110 buildings it takes care of: “For safety reasons, the containers in the trash cans will not be taken out on December 24 and 31. We wish you happy end of year celebrations.”

    For the boss of the RiVP questioned by the le Parisien, this decision was the result of a year which had been “a little special”. “We had to be educational and effective,” he explained. Parisian homeowners are in fact afraid that the rubbish bins will be burned as is the case every year in the capital, and this despite the curfew this year. Thus, according to our colleagues in the media, the other lessor, Paris Habitat, asked the same thing of its caretakers.

    Their decision was based on the recommendations from local police stations as a “security measure” and was a relief for the firefighters for whom the fires of rubbish and cars “represent 75 to 80 percent” of their interventions, indicated their spokesperson. Trash fires most often take place… next to homes and cars in Paris.

    The mayor of Paris has always refused to communicate on the number of green bins regularly destroyed during New Year’s Eve, but also wanted to avoid at all costs an increase in arson and property destruction, especially at 150 euros per unit.

    Thus, according to information from Europe1, 861 cars were set on fire during the night of New Year’s Eve. A figure down 41 percent compared to last year’s record. The cities of Strasbourg, Mulhouse and Nice were the most affected. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wanted these figures not to be communicated locally “to avoid any phenomenon of competition”.

    In Germany, after several Bundeswehr vehicles in Leipzig were burned out on New Year’s Eve, the State Criminal Police Office has started investigations. Arson is assumed, said a police spokeswoman speaking to the Bild newspaper.

    The fire brigade was called out on Thursday night. The flames had destroyed a total of seven armed forces jeeps. Other cars were also damaged by the heat. The damage amounts to tens of thousands of euros.

    Meanwhile, a letter of allegiance appeared on the left-wing extremist scene portal Indymedia. The perpetrators justified the arson attack, among other things with the rejection of the state and its institutions. “The repressive organizations such as cops, the armed forces, justice or job centers deserve our attacks in particular.”

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