In a bizarre practice of arson, dozens go on the rampage setting vehicles ablaze across Strasbourg in France as the rioters flouted the curfew order on New Year’s Eve celebrations.
This came despite the deployment of lakhs of security personnel to enforce the 8pm curfew. Scores of police officers and firefighters were injured.
Around 40 vandals have been arrested.
According to Annie Bregal, Bas-Rhin’s director of public security in Strasbourg: “In addition to a nationwide 8pm curfew and a number of street closures in Strasbourg, fireworks had been banned for the entire month of December.”
“Local police also set up “mobile forces” in “strategic locations” across the city,” she added.
Videos of smoldering cars, wheelers engulfed as well as setting off loud blasts as the vehicles’ fuel ignited has since gone viral on social media.
This peculiar tradition of alighting cars has been practised since the 1990s as part of custom on New Year’s Eve.
The practice is observed primarily in the east of the country, around Strasbourg, in the poorest neighbourhoods.
In 2014, around 1067 cars were burnt down across France on New Year’s Eve, according to the then Interior minister Manuel Valls.
On every New Year, car owners cross their fingers with a hope that their cars are intact.