Arrests, clashes & arson mar Bastille Day celebrations in France

Screenshot from Ruptly video
French police clashed with groups of leftist protesters in Paris during the annual French Bastille Day parade. Over 200 arrests were reportedly made, as rioters caused havoc, as they used firecrackers and Molotov cocktails to torch cars.

Dozens of protesters, described as leftist youth, faced off with officers in riot gear in the French capital on Tuesday, after local residents called police, following disturbances. Several protest groups marched through Paris, coming together at the National Assembly, where the violence intensified.

One of the groups reportedly consisted of around 500 protesters.

Chaotic scenes ensued in some parts of the city, with Molotov cocktails and other projectiles being thrown at police. In response, the officers were seen using batons and beating some of the protesters to the ground.

In total, around 100 people were taken into custody in Paris and another 109 were detained in Seine-Saint-Denis, in the north east of the city, Le Parisien cited local officials as saying.

Rioters set trash cans on fire and torched at least 26 cars. Firefighters were called to extinguish the blazes and dozens of police cars were dispatched.

On Tuesday, France celebrated Bastille Day with a major military parade and a lavish fireworks display. The day itself symbolizes the storming of a prison fortress by an angry mob on July 14, 1789 – a flashpoint of the French Revolution.

This year, the Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish supermarket terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 17 people in January, have rocked France.

France upgraded its security threat to the maximum possible level during the military parade, which paid a special tribute to those fighting terror at home and abroad. French Special Forces were part of the display for the first time in history.

The security operation saw a total of 11,200 police and military forces patrolling the streets of Paris, while snipers were also present.

President Francois Hollande urged the French people to remain “united” and make sure they were not gripped by fear.