Fans celebrate France’s World Cup semi-final victory on Champs-Elysees

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Waving tricolor flags and lighting flares, French supporters erupted in jubilation around the iconic Champs-Elysees following France’s victory over Morocco on Wednesday, a match that brought Les Bleus to the generals. World Cup final.

Celebrations were mostly peaceful in Paris, but there were some signs of unrest in other parts of the country, including a deadly car crash after the game in the southern city of Montpellier.

About 10,000 policemen were mobilized everywhere Franceas the authorities worried about potential clashes between French supporters and supporters of the one-time French North African colony.

When football lovers in Paris gather until the end of the game avenue leading up to the Arc de Triomphe, the mood is bubbly but mostly kind, with Maroc supporters accept defeat.

“We’re in the final. We’re in the final,” chanted hundreds of French fans as drivers honked their horns and riot police hid in trucks lining the area.

A French riot police van even used one of its sirens to mark the moment Kolo Muani scored to give France a 2-0 lead.

Sylvain Badin, 24, holding a French flag, said: “It’s been great to play against Argentina in the final. “I came to share a moment of joy.”

A general view as French fans celebrate on the Champs-Elysees after the match between France and Morocco in Paris, France on December 14, 2022.
A general view as French fans celebrate on the Champs-Elysees after the match between France and Morocco in Paris, France on December 14, 2022. © Gonzalo Fuentes, Reuters

Dozens of Moroccan fans were also listened to during the regional match, wrapped in national flags as they watched the match on their phones.

“We lost but it was just football and we made history by reaching the semi-finals. We are proud of our country and happy for France,” said Kamal Seddiki, a 22-year-old Moroccan student. , speak.

Some fans who set off firecrackers around the Arc de Triomphe were dispersed by police.

And a group of about 40 people affiliated with far-right groups were arrested for carrying banned weapons before they could reach the Champs-Elysees, a police source said.

“They obviously want to fight on the Champs,” the source said.

Police said a total of more than 100 arrests had taken place around the Paris area before 1 a.m. Thursday.

Tragedy Montpellier

In the southern French city of Montpellier, tragedy struck after a game on Wednesday night when a 14-year-old boy was killed by an “accident driver” who fled the scene, local authorities said. said in a statement.

French MP Nathalie Oziol expressed “infinite sadness (that) a sporting event ended in sheer drama”.

“My condolences to the family,” she said in a tweet.

In Nice, trash cans were burned after the game in the city center, where thousands of people had gathered, an AFP photographer said.

In France’s third largest city Lyon, a trumpet concert also broke out after the game, but the jubilant atmosphere turned tense when “a group of far-right youths approached the fans”, a provincial official said. Lyon said.

“There was a scuffle and the police quickly intervened to repel the group,” a local source said.

Police also used tear gas as supporters began setting off firecrackers in downtown Place Bellecour.

Lyon County reported a total of seven arrests, including two from far-right groups.

Nearby Annecy saw bullets thrown at police, and a man was taken to hospital after he was injured in an altercation.

And in the historic city of Avignon, there have been 14 arrests – eight for mortar fire, according to a police report sent to AFP.

‘Welcome to France’

France’s relationship with Morocco may not be as strained as it was with Algeria, another former colony that endured a bloody seven-year War of Independence that left both nations vulnerable to this day. now.

But as in any post-colonial relationship, Morocco, which gained independence in 1956, has grievances with France, most notably over visas.

More than a million Moroccans are believed to be living in France and security forces have been put on alert for any clashes such as the one in Brussels that marked Morocco’s shock victory over Belgium in the group stage.

But Hossam Boutah, 20, of the southwestern city of Bordeaux, said he was “happy for France”.

The schoolboy wears the Moroccan flag on his back during the post-match celebration in the downtown square of the port city.

“We’re brothers, we’re together. It’s our second country,” Boutalah said.

Although “Morocco played well and should have scored a goal.”



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