French torch 874 cars on New Year’s Eve as part of decades old tradition
As many as 874 cars were set ablaze by people in France on New Year’s Eve as part of a decades old tradition, according to reports.
More than 441 people were detained for questioning after vehicles and trash cans were alight.
In Strasbourg, northeastern France, four police officers suffered minor injuries during the controversial tradition.
The French authorities say that there has been a drop in the number of cars torched during this New Year’s Eve due to the Covid pandemic.
Compared to the 874 cars burnt at the end of 2021, 2019 New Year’s Eve witnessed 1,316 cars being torched, the Interior Ministry said. The data for 2020 was not compiled owing to lockdown restrictions.
Authorities have attributed the decline to a beefed-up police presence of 95,000 officers in Paris and across the country on New Year's Eve, as well as restrictions imposed in view of the Omicron surge.
The car burning tradition dates back to the 90s in the region around Strasbourg in the eastern part of the country.
It is said that youths in lower-income neighbourhoods began the tradition, where it then spread as a sign of protests.
2005 witnessed the highest number of cars being set afire, with the police saying that nearly 9,000 vehicles were torched during protests in housing projects across France
A variety of reasons are given for car burnings in France, from rebellious youths, to a desire to cover up criminal acts, as well as false insurance claims.