Fire breaks out near central Paris train station after violent protests

Fire breaks out near central Paris train station after violent protests
Police in Paris asked everyone to stay clear of the Gare de Lyon train station after a fire erupted on Friday. Photo: AFP
Gare de Lyon train station in Paris was partially evacuated on Friday after a fire broke out nearby during violence on the margins of a banned protest. Train services were severely disrupted, according to SNCF.
Paris police reported a fire Friday near the Gare de Lyon train station, which was partially evacuated after violence broke out on the margins of a banned protest against a Congolese artist giving a 
concert nearby.

The blaze sent a huge plume of thick black smoke into the sky over central Paris, as police warned the pubic to avoid the area.

“Avoid the area and allow the emergency services to intervene,” the police tweeted a little after 6pm on Friday.

 

The SCNF train service operator said the underground section of the Gare de Lyon was evacuated as a precautionary measure. Train traffic was severely disrupted.

The caused transport disruption on several Metro lines. Parisian rail operator RATP tweeted that the station was shut following the incident.

 

Passersby posted images of the fires on Twitter.

 

 

 

According to the capital's main daily Le Parisien, the fire erupted during a protest against the Congolese star Fally Ipupa, who was to hold a concert on Friday evening in AccorHotels Arena, in Bercy, east in the capital.

Police said it had intervened to stop protesters who set alight garbage bins and scooters, releasing a thick, black smoke cloud over the city centre.

Police tweeted that “scandalous behaviour from protesters” prevented the Paris fire brigade from accessing the fire, together with a video showing protesters clashing with firefighters.

Outside the station, AFP witnessed a dozen firetrucks at work amid the smouldering wrecks of about 30 vehicles, mainly scooters.

 

Police had banned any protests around the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, not far from the station, where Congolese artist Fally Ipupa was to give a concert.

Congolese expats regularly speak out against artists from home who perform in France or Belgium, accusing them of being close to former DR Congo president Joseph Kabila and his successor Felix Tshisekedi.

A 2017 concert by Ipupa was cancelled by police citing risks for “serious disturbances to the public order”.


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