Police Chief Michel Gaudin also said there were no major clashes this year between youths and police overnight, as had been feared. In what has become an annual tradition every New Year’s Eve, youths set several hundred cars ablaze in France as festivities get out of hand.
Police were especially cautious this time because of the wave three weeks of rioting and car burning that started in late October. A state of emergency imposed during the rioting is still in effect, and 25,000 police were on alert for the holiday.
The burnings have become a barometer of unrest in France. In other incidents, a small fire broke out at a school in Toulouse, in southwest France, and was quickly put out, local authorities said. In Nice on the French Riviera, firefighters were pelted with stones when they responded to an anonymous phone alert, officials said.
In the nearby Var department of southern France, youths also threw rocks at firefighters in a troubled neighborhood of La-Seine-sur-Mer, local authorities said.