Hundreds Arrested in French Violence

Canadian Broadcasting Centre, January 1, 2010

New Year’s Eve celebrations turned violent in regions across France as youths burned more than 1,000 cars overnight and police arrested nearly 400 people.

Car burnings have become a regular occurrence in the poor, immigrant-heavy suburbs that ring France’s biggest cities, but the incidents of arson are especially prevalent on New Year’s Eve.

The Interior Ministry mobilized 45,000 police during the night, 10,000 more than last year.

The ministry said 398 people were taken into police custody–nearly twice the figure of a year ago.

Such vandalism mirrors events in the fall of 2005, when a three-week wave of riots and other violence shocked the country.

The violence flared again two years later in neighbourhoods outside Paris, following the deaths of two teens who were killed in a crash with a police patrol car in November 2007.

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