Clashes, road accidents mar French World Cup partying
Paris, France – Dozens of youths shattered windows at a popular store on the Champs Elysees Avenue on Sunday while hundreds of thousands of fans celebrated France’s World Cup victory, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
About 30 people, many wearing ski masks, broke into the Publicis Drugstore and later left with bottles of wine and champagne, some smiling and filming themselves with cellphones.
Some also threw objects including bottles and chairs at police forces, who responded with tear gas.
“That’s not how you celebrate,” a tearful bystander wearing a French team jersey said.
As the hundreds of thousands of revelers gradually left the famous avenue, police used water cannon to disperse remaining troublemakers at around 11:30 p.m.
Elsewhere in France, authorities said clashes erupted in the southern city of Lyon between police and about 100 youths who had climbed on top of a police vehicle at an open-air showing of the match in the city center.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the youths who responded by throwing objects and setting rubbish bins on fire, with the unrest causing some stampeding.
Ten people were arrested in Marseille, where two members of the security forces were injured in clashes, a police spokesman said.
In Frouard, a town outside the eastern city of Nancy, a three-year-old boy and two six-year-old girls were seriously injured after being struck by a motorcycle during the celebrations.
Authorities said the motorcyclist had fled the scene.
In the southeast city of Annecy police said a 50-year-old man died after breaking his neck when he jumped into a shallow canal just when the final whistle blew to signal the end of the match.
And a man in his thirties died after crashing his car into a tree while celebrating shortly after the game in the small town of Saint-Felix in northern France.
Fans have poured into the streets across the country after the country’s second World Cup win, many waving flags and letting off smoke bombs.
Some 4,000 police and security forces have been deployed across Paris during the World Cup festivities, and a vast security perimeter prohibiting vehicle access has been set up around the Champs Elysees avenue.
France remains on high alert following a string of terror attacks since 2015, which prompted the government to grant the police extended powers under tough new anti-terror laws enacted last year. /kga