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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

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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