Riot police in Paris have clashed with the Algerian diaspora as jubilant football fans poured into the streets to celebrate the Algerian team’s advance in the Africa Cup of Nations – and descended into looting and vandalism.
As soon as team Algeria reached the semi-finals of the tournament by beating Ivory Coast 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time, thousands of football fans descended onto the Champs-Elysees to celebrate the victory.
Police were immediately deployed to the center of Paris to keep order, but that did not stop the traffic disturbance in the area. Fireworks and honking of horns drowned out the security services’ calls to keep order.
Tensions started boiling by around 11pm with at least one Molotov cocktail thrown at police lines. Riot forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to stop the crowd from vandalizing cars and looting shops. Serious tensions were also reported at Porte Maillot.
At least five individuals were arrested in the clashes that continued into the night, local media report. Marseille, Lyon, Valence and other French cities also witnessed wild celebrations by the Algerian community.