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Only 372 Cars Torched – French New Years

From those lovers of law and order at the Associated Press:

Riot policemen keep watch during New Year celebrations on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris January 1, 2008.

French president hails New Year’s Eve largely unmarred by youth unrest

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy thanked police officers and firefighters on Tuesday for helping decrease the number of run-ins with rowdy New Year’s Eve revelers who have made torching cars an annual problem in the country’s troubled neighborhoods.

The Interior Ministry said 273 cars were set alight overnight on Monday, down nearly 13 percent from the 2006 total of 313 vehicles.

“Overall there were fewer incidents of arson and almost no clashes between gangs or with the police forces,” Sarkozy told a gathering of civil servants who were on duty on Jan. 31. Besides security forces, the audience also included paramedics, doctors and employees of the national train authority.

“We can be happy,” the French leader said…

And yet other reports, such as this one from China Daily, put the numbers somewhat higher:

372 French cars torched over “calm” New Year

2008-01-01

PARIS – Vandals torched 372 cars as France celebrated the New Year, down on the figure last year after a night the police described as “relatively calm”…

“The night was relatively calm, without notable incident, there were very few direct clashes with the security forces,” said a spokesman for the national police.

At 0500 GMT, the Interior Ministry said 372 vehicles had been burned — 144 in the Paris region and 228 in the rest of France. That was down from 397 last New Year’s Eve.

At the height of the 2005 riots as many as 1,400 cars were attacked in overnight violence. In protests over President Nicolas Sarkozy election last May, demonstrators set fire to 730 vehicles.

Police had stepped up their presence on French streets in anticipation of the year-end celebrations and the sale of petrol in cans was banned in some places.

Maybe one of these reporters has dyslexia.

Still, what a relief, n’est-ce pas?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 1st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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