Reuters, January 1, 2008
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”.
Cars are burned fairly regularly in France and the image of vehicles in flames in poor suburbs became symbolic of riots in 2005 when angry youths set fire to thousands of cars.
There is usually an increase in the number of cars torched on New Year’s Eve compared to other days of the year.
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 1400 cars were attacked in overnight violence. In protests over President Nicolas Sarkozy election last May, demonstrators set fire to 730 vehicles.