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New Year's Eve sees fewer cars torched than in previous years

This New Year's Eve in France was relatively peaceful, with figures suggesting fewer cars were torched than in previous year. Interior minister Brice Hortefeux said 405 people were arrested, but "no major incidents" were reported.


AFP - France enjoyed a relatively peaceful New Year's Eve with scores of cars reported burned -- apparently fewer than the hundreds witnessed a year ago, authorities said on Friday.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in a statement that 405 arrests were made across the country and 11 police officers injured but "no major incidents" were reported. The official toll of burned cars was due later, he said.

In the eastern city of Strasbourg, traditionally a hotspot for New Year's disturbances, media said about 70 cars had been set on fire. Police in the Hauts-de-Seine district near Paris reported 32 cars burned.

Early on Friday police in Paris said 171 arrests were made in the capital, mainly for burning cars and throwing objects at officers, but no major clashes with police were reported.

The interior ministry had mobilised 8,000 police in the capital and 45,000 nationally for the night, after authorities counted 1,147 cars set on fire a year ago.

"It is quiet for New Year's Eve -- no clashes with the police and no city violence," said one police source in the Seine-et-Marne district just outside Paris.

"There were fewer cars burned than normal," said another in Val-de-Marne, also near the capital.

Meanwhile an apparently accidental fire in an apartment in the southern French city of Nimes killed five people and left 13 others injured, police said.

In a separate incident 65 people were harmed, six of them seriously, by carbon monoxyde fumes at a party in a suburb of Paris, in circumstances that were not yet clear on Friday morning, police said.

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