KAEACHI Jan 03,2022- People in France have burnt hundreds of cars to celebrate the start of 2022, in a New Year’s Eve tradition that began decades ago.
Despite it being a tradition the cars were not burnt voluntarily. They fell prey to arson attacks.
Authorities said, only 874 vehicles have been burnt this year, compared to over 1,000 cars set on fire in the past years on every New Year’s Eve.
Number of car burning decreased due to COVID pandemic.
But more people were taken in for questioning than in previous years, with 441 brought in compared to 376 in 2019.
The “tradition” of burning cars began in Strasbourg, northeastern France in the 1980s.
Strasbourg, which hosts thousands of tourists who flock to the city for its renowned Christmas market, first began to be blighted by holiday season vehicle arson in the late 1980s. But the phenomenon exploded to alarming levels during the 1990s, according to an AFP report.
The year 1997 proved to be decisive. That year the national media descended en mass on the bustling picturesque city following a spree of car burnings, as young vandals from rival housing estates began “competing” for the media spotlight.
Car burning is not limited to New Year celebrations in France. Bastille Day, France’s national holiday on July 14, also sees a peak in incidents.
Car burning has now evolved to represent France’s way of ‘protest’. It has been observed that most people involved in arson are poor and often justify their actions as ‘defiance’ for lack of economic opportunities. Besides, such incidents are easy ways to pick up confrontations with law enforcement authorities and make quick bucks through insurance.
Besides New Year’s Eve, such incidents are also witnessed during France’s National holiday on July 14 (also called Bastille Day).