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New Year’s Eve in France: ‘No notable incident’?

In France, a gendarmerie barracks was attacked, a children's home burned down, a retired couple and several families saved from the flames... In fact, 690 vehicles were burned and 490 arrests made, but according to a press release from the Ministry of the Interior, "no notable incident" was recorded on the first night of the year.

Published: January 2, 2023, 7:55 am

    The night of Saturday 31 December to Sunday 1 January was marked by urban violence in several housing estates in Nantes. Cars were set on fire, at least twenty according to our information, and mobile police cars were the target of Molotov cocktails and fireworks in the Malakoff district, reported Ouest-France.

    In Séchilienne, the gendarmes saved a retired couple from the flames. A car fire had spread to another vehicle and then to houses in the early hours of Sunday morning. The gendarmes entered the house as the entrance was on fire. A criminal investigation was opened.

    It was a heroic act since the entrance was already in flames, but they extracted the elderly couple. A tragedy was narrowly avoided thanks to the courage of the soldiers extracting the bedridden husband.

    Earlier, the fire had broken out in a car parked along the 1091A road at number 627. The flames quickly spread to another vehicle, then to the nearest houses, reported Le Dauphiné.

    Numerous incidents also took place on New Year’s Eve throughout the Ain region. The most serious took place in Bourg-en-Bresse and Meximieux where police and gendarmes were targeted by fireworks. Three people were arrested in the city.

    The forces of order were on the “warpath” for this transition between 2022 and 2023. The police and gendarmerie were mobilized throughout the department to deal with the excesses of a festive night that often rhymes with urban violence, but Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of the Interior, downplayed the violence instead.

    Le Progrès reported on violence in the Ile-de-France region. In the Drôme, the evening of New Year’s Eve was also marked by violent incidents. Notably in Pierrelatte, in the south of the department. Shortly before 10:30 pm, fireworks were fired at the gendarmerie barracks. There were no injuries or damage. An investigation is underway to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators.

    In Toulouse, 41 fires, a fire was started in a children’s home, an attempted rape was recorded as well as an attack on police station. According to a first report, the firemen had to intervene on 41 fires in Haute-Garonne. A fire broke out in a children’s home shortly after midnight in Auzeville Tolosane. The fire was quickly brought under control by the fire brigade and was limited to the ground floor of the home. Five children and one adult were on the scene when the flames spread. They were able to leave before the arrival of the emergency services, La Dépêche reported.

    But the night’s incidents were not limited to burnt cars. According to our information, the Bellefontaine police station, in Mirail, was attacked by mortar fire. Similarly, glass bottles were thrown into the police station car park and the metal curtain in front of the entrance was hit. In addition, a police officer was injured by a scooter driver. “The perpetrator is still on the run,” a police source told Actu Toulouse.

    On Saturday 31 December, shortly before 9pm, the Orléans police and fire brigade responded to a burning car parked in front of No. 8 rue du Clos-Neuf in Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle. The vehicle parked next to it was also damaged.

    It was a police patrol that came across the fire “by chance” and intervened in the building to evacuate the occupants in time. Twenty-two people were saved in total, including children. The smoke from the fire had entered the dwellings through the air vents.

    “They saved lives, we avoided a tragedy”, said Commissioner Yan Degoul, head of the public department at the Orléans police station and head of the security arrangements for New Year’s Eve. During the night, the police officers who intervened were affected by the smoke, and had to be admitted to hospital.

    The year also ended badly for the Secours Populaire of Villeneuve-d’Ascq, regional news outlet France3 reported. On Saturday 31 December, the mobile grocery shop was completely destroyed by fire. Following this malicious act, the rounds can no longer be carried out. “The truck has been completely destroyed. It’s a disaster for us. On Tuesday, we won’t be able to provide essential help to families.”

    According to our information, about fifty cars were set on fire in the Lyon area on Saturday night, particularly in the east of Lyon.

    The night of New Year’s Eve was also marked by urban violence in the Bordeaux metropolis. Two police officers were injured. “Every year, it’s always the same, they burn, break and we clean up”, an employee who is working to make the Grand-Parc district of Bordeaux, safe for traffic, told Sud Ouest.

    New Year’s Eve saw similar incidents throughout the Mulhouse region. Although several vehicles were set on fire and the police were often attacked, no serious incidents were reported. As every year, the troublemakers, generally young minors (from 13 to 15-16 years old), did not miss the opportunity to be noticed by provoking the police.

    The principle is always the same: pallets and tyres are placed on the road or in rubbish bins and then set on fire. Small barricades made of barriers and trolleys are also placed in the middle of the road, waiting for firemen and police. The latter are then greeted by fireworks.

    Meanwhile, the firefighters of the Eure, had to put out about thirty car fires and two waves of fires affected car dealerships, according to

    And wild displays of fireworks in Nice on Saturday at midnight were seen… despite the prefect’s ban.

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