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France to deploy 100,000 police to enforce curfew and prevent vandalism on New Year’s Eve

Around 100,000 police and gendarmes will be on duty in France on New Year’s Eve to make sure people there are no gatherings in public spaces and prevent the vandalism that frequently takes place on the last night of the year.

France to deploy 100,000 police to enforce curfew and prevent vandalism on New Year’s Eve
Police will be on the streets enforcing curfew on New Year's Eve. Photo: AFP

Interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Tuesday that 100,000 police and gendarmes would be on duty across the country on New Year's Eve to enforce the 8pm-6am curfew and ban on gatherings in public places.

“The priority in the next few days must be to fight against unauthorised public gatherings and the phenomenon of urban violence,” Darmanin wrote in a message to local authorities on December 28th. He said efforts should be concentrated “in city centres and sensitive neighbourhood areas.”

READ ALSO What is allowed on New Year's Eve in France?

 

The number of officers is actually the same as last year, when they were deployed during the New Year’s Eve celebrations which are often marked by outbreaks of vandalism, particularly the strange tradition of burning cars.

Darmanin also asked police chiefs to impose “orders prohibiting the sale of fuel or alcohol in transportable containers, wherever possible”.

The past few years have seen a rise in the number of cars torched on New Year's Eve, with last year setting a new record of 1,457 vehicles burned across the country. That’s a 13 percent increase from the 1,031 cars burned in 2018. While in 2017, 935 cars were burned.

Cars are often set ablaze whenever there is an outbreak of social disorder, as seen in the 2005 riots when hundreds of vehicles were torched.

But setting cars on fire on the last night of the year has become something of a tradition in France, a custom that started in the 1990s in the poorer neighbourhoods of big cities.

Authorities have previously refrained from reporting the number of torched cars on New Year’s Eve after it was discovered that it was fuelling competition between gangs. 

 

 

 

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POLICE

Paris suburbs see third night of violence

The Parisian suburbs of Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France have seen clashes between residents and police, ever since an officer shot and killed the driver of a stolen van on Saturday.

Paris suburbs see third night of violence

Angry residents and police clashed for a third night in suburbs north of Paris, leading to 13 arrests following the fatal shooting of a father-of-four by an officer at the weekend, police said Tuesday.

Despite a heavy police presence to prevent further violence, several cars, a dozen bins and an abandoned sports centre were set alight overnight in the low-income Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France suburbs, a police source told AFP.

The unrest began Saturday after a police officer fatally shot the driver of a van that had been reported stolen and was being inspected at a traffic light in Sevran at around lunchtime.

The officer was hospitalised afterwards “in a state of shock,” local prosecutor Eric Mathais said Sunday, while internal police investigators have opened a probe into the incident.

Local people who knew the man named as Jean-Paul told AFP that he had taken a van owned by his employer who owed him wages.

They have also questioned how the officer could justify opening fire when his life was not in danger, which is the only justification for using a weapon under French law.

A protest march by the dead man’s family is expected in the next few days.

Residents in France’s multiracial suburbs often complain about heavy-handed policing methods and violence that have led to a series of scandals in recent years, including the February 2017 arrest of a black man who was allegedly sodomised with a police baton.

Police unions say officers often face hostility and attacks, and are faced with the difficult task of trying to maintain order in impoverished high-rise housing estates that in some cases are centres of drug dealing and other criminality.

The French government began a public consultation in February aimed at devising ways to increase public confidence in the police.

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