Algerian football fans’ celebrations descend into violence in France

Algerian football fans spark violence in France for a second time in four days as they torch cars and clash with riot police after their team reaches the Africa Cup of Nations final

  • Riotous celebrations erupted in French cities including Paris, Marseille and Lyon
  • Videos show fireworks and flares being set off as thousands partied in the night
  • 282 people were arrested for throwing projectiles at police and other offences

French police arrested 282 people across the country today after unrest following the Algerian football team’s qualification for the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Riotous celebrations erupted in cities including Paris, Marseille and Lyon after Algeria beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-final at the Cairo International Stadium in Egypt.

Tear gas and baton charges were used on the Champs Elysees in Paris, where thousands had gathered in the early hours of Monday morning.

Fireworks and flares were let off, while traffic was brought to a standstill.

‘The Champs Elysees was one massive traffic jam,’ said a local police source. ‘Thousands of Algeria fans turned up, but at times the situation got out of hand.’

French police arrested 282 people across the country today after unrest following the Algerian football team’s qualification for the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. Pictured: Marseille

Riotous celebrations erupted in cities including Paris (pictured), Marseille and Lyon after Algeria beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-final

Fifty people were arrested in the French capital. There were similar scenes in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, where huge crowds gathered in the Old Port.

Dozens of cars were torched overnight in the eastern city of Lyon. 

A French Interior Ministry spokesman said that by 6am on Monday ‘there have been 282 arrests, with 249 placed in custody’.

Offences included throwing projectiles at police and ‘refusing to comply with police instructions’, the spokesman added.

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.

Last Thursday, when Algeria defeated Ivory Coast to reach the semi-finals, fans went on the rampage in central Paris, looting shops.

On the same day in the southern city of Montpellier, an Algerian football supporter celebrating his team’s win lost control of his car at high speed and ran into a family, killing a woman and seriously injuring her baby. 

Algeria is a former French colony that won its independence following a war that ended in 1962. Pictured: celebrations in Paris

Tear gas and baton charges were used on the Champs Elysees in Paris, pictured, where thousands had gathered in the early hours of Monday morning

Algeria is a former French colony that won its independence following a war that ended in 1962.

There are large Algerian communities in cities such as Paris and Marseille, and many of the Algeria football players were born in France.

Sunday was Bastille Day in France, and police also made 175 arrests related to anti-government protests, many of them on the Champs Elysee.

The protests saw Emmanuel Macron became the first French president in recent history to be widely booed during the traditional National Day parade.

The humiliating jeers came as the head of state waved at crowds from a military command vehicle on the Champs Elysee on Sunday morning.

There were shouts of ‘Macron Resign!’ from the Gilets Jaunes – the Yellow Vest movement that had infiltrated the heavily policed Sunday morning event.

Many were involved in running battles with the police later on, as more tear gas and baton charges were used.

July 14 commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution in 1789, and involves a large military parade and fly past.

Algeria will now play Senegal – another side with huge support in France – in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday evening.

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