August 20, 2019
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198 arrested in France following Algeria’s AFCON win

Paris, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- A total of 198 people were arrested in several cities in France for their alleged involvement in clashes while celebrating Algeria’s Africa Cup of Nations win.

France’s Interior Ministry stated that 177 of those arrested on Friday night were taken into police custody.

Most of the arrests, some 102 people, took place in Paris, where thousands had gathered following the final whistle of the tournament to celebrate Algeria’s 1-0 victory over Senegal.

The celebrations in Paris mostly took place in the areas around the Champs-Elysees avenue and Boulevard Barbes, where the majority of the Algerian community lives.

Clashes first broke out on the Champs-Elysees shortly before 1 am local time, where French security forces resorted to tear gas, according to local newspaper Le Parisien.

Some streets around Boulevard Barbes were taken over by crowds who gathered on Friday afternoon outside bars to watch the encounter.

A giant Algerian flag was still hanging in that neighborhood on Saturday morning.

Other Algeria fans honked their horns while driving around the city streets and waving their nation’s flag.

Following Algeria’s qualification for the final match of the tournament held in Cairo, Egypt, on July 14, Paris Police Prefecture has been deploying 2,500 agents to prevent possible incidents.

On that day, when Algeria knocked Nigeria out of the semis with a 2-1 win, 282 people were arrested across the whole of France, with more dangerous altercations having broken out.

Outside the French capital, the largest gathering of Algerian fans to watch the final was in Marseilles.

The city’s prefecture estimated that around 25,000 people gathered in downtown Marseilles, particularly the Old Port area.

Similar mass celebrations were held in other cities, including Toulouse, Lille and Strasbourg, as well as in Lyon, which saw clashes with security forces as well.

Several cities had already adopted preventive measures, such as prohibiting the take-away of alcohol, the transport of fuel containers, the use of firecrackers or covering the face to hide identity.

In the city of Montbeliard, a curfew was imposed to prevent minors under 14 from going out to streets at night without being accompanied by an adult. EFE-EPA

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