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Celebrations marred by violence after Algeria's Africa Cup of Nations semi-final win

Boris Horvat, AFP | Algeria supporters celebrate after Algeria won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) semi-final football match against Nigeria, at the old harbour (vieux port) in Marseille, southern France, on July 14, 2019.

Fans took to the streets of Paris, Marseille and Lyon on Sunday to celebrate the Algerian national football team's 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final, but the festivities were marred by violence.

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Scenes of joy descended into clashes between fans and police in the French cities of Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

A total of 282 people were arrested across the country, 249 of whom were placed in police custody, the interior ministry said on Monday.

Some of the arrests were also linked to unrest surrounding events marking France's national Bastille Day celebrations on Sunday.

In Paris, car horns and cries of joy rang out as supporters celebrated on the celebrated Champs-Élysées avenue.

By 1am on Monday morning, thousands of fans had gathered on the upper part of the avenue.

As tensions mounted, police used tear gas to break up the crowds. Some fans threw fireworks and other projectiles at the officers, while others set fire to dustbins.

Around 50 people were arrested by police.

Meanwhile, several vehicles were torched in Lyon, according to the city's fire department. Local officials said police used tear gas to push back fans, who started throwing bottles and fireworks at them, in the city centre and in other surrounding neighbourhoods.

In Marseille, fans reportedly threw firecrackers and smokebombs at police as thousands descended on the port area for Bastille day fireworks.

Police blocked them from entering the port area and several arrests were made.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday congratulated police and firemen for their "speedy reaction and professionalism which contained the violence and to the perpetrators" being apprehended.

Security measures had been reinforced ahead of the semi-finals, following widespread unrest last Thursday after Algeria’s match against Ivory Coast.

A woman was killed and her baby seriously injured when an Algeria supporter lost control of his car at high speed in the southern city of Montpellier.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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