Celebrations in Paris after France’s World Cup victory over Croatia on Sunday turned ugly. Two civilians are dead, 292 people have been taken into custody, including 90 in Paris and 18 in Lyon, 45 policemen were seriously wounded, 845 cars have been torched or vandalized, and hundreds of shops were vandalized and/or looted, French newspaper Le Monde reports.
FreeWestMedia France’s World Cup triumph turned violent in the French capital as skirmishes broke out between fans and law enforcement, despite its football team being composed of mostly African Muslim players. France has no less than 14 players with roots on the African continent. The squad include players originating from Algeria, Angola, Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
Express Celebrations turned to chaos in France with riots and looting as millions of French fans had been celebrating their team’s 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final. More than 500 people were arrested during the evening after the win and around 100,000 police officers were out on the streets as well as 44,000 firefighters. Around 845 cars were vandalised during the evening’s violence.
In the southeast city of Annecy, police reported a 50-year-old man died after breaking his neck when he jumped into a shallow canal in celebration of the French victory. And in the small town of Saint-Felix in northern France, a man in his thirties died after crashing his car into a tree while celebrating after the match ended.
Journalists were attacked in the northern French city of Rouen after they refused to delete a video of a violent attack and had to be treated by medical professionals.
In the French capital a bar was vandalised and thirty young people wearing ski masks ransacked a shop in the Champs-Elysées while smiling and filming themselves with cellphones. The riots spread from the famous Arc de Triomphe to other parts of Paris.
There were also acts of vandalism throughout the country, especially in Paris where dozens of youths shattered windows and looted popular stores.
FreeWestMedia Black and Arab Muslim youths clashed with riot police around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris after France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final.
Troublemakers from Muslim migrant neighbourhoods flooded the festivities on the Champs-Elysees, breaking the window of a major store, throwing bottles and temporary barriers at riot police. BFM-TV reported that the store on the famous avenue was pillaged.
Police tried to drive back the looters with water cannons and tear gas. Some 4000 police in riot gear had been deployed along the avenue, Associated Press reported. Africans massively backed France in the World Cup tournament. As French scholar Grégory Pierrot pointed out, “the black players of France are also black players for the entire black world.”
Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United States, tweeted angrily in response to claims of France being “the most African team,” that “all these players are French born and are as French citizens as I am too so what? A problem with the colour of their skin? Why do you endorse the narrative of the far-right?”
Reuters also reported that youths had clashed with police, damaging businesses and properties along the Champs Elysees. Celebrations in Lyon and Marseille were also marred by violence.
Police clashed with about 100 youths who had climbed on top of a police vehicle at an open-air showing of the match in the city centre of Lyon. They fired tear gas to disperse the rioters who responded by throwing objects and setting rubbish bins on fire.
In the heavily Muslim area of Marseille, news crews filmed rioting migrant youths vandalising a bus and starting fires in the street. Similar violent incidents in other cities were noted in Grenoble, Rouen, Le Havre, Nice, Cannes, Strasbourg and Nantes as chaos took hold throughout France.
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France’s soccer victory may not be enough to heal the growing cultural divide in the country. “There’s such a chasm between what — in general — the media and the large part of the political class, and what people are saying, what people feel,” Robert Ménard, mayor of Béziers in southern France, noted during a recent TV interview.
“And I can see it in my town. What do they say? They say that Muslim immigration is unbearable. That they don’t want it any more. That they want to stop mass Muslim immigration,” he said. Voters feel “enough is enough, because it causes insecurity for everybody” he added.
“If you walk around Porte de la Chapelle [Paris metro station], you can see the immigration, if you walk in Béziers, you can see the immigration, and it isn’t a discreet immigration. It’s a violent Muslim immigration, in fact, that’s intrusive and obtrusive.”