Hundreds arrested in France after Algeria qualify for Africa Cup of Nations final

Riotous celebrations erupted around the country after Algeria beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-final

People celebrate on a car on the Champs Elysees after the African Cup of Nations semifinal soccer match between Algeria and Nigeria in Paris, France, Sunday, July 14, 2019. Algeria won 2-1. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
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Almost 300 people were arrested in France after unrest following the Algerian football team’s qualification for the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

Riotous celebrations erupted around the country after Algeria beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-final.

The 282 arrests were made nationwide on Sunday evening, the interior ministry said.

Some of the arrests were also linked to unrest surrounding events marking France’s national day celebrations on Sunday.

Unruly scenes erupted in Paris, Marseilles and Lyon.

Fifty people were arrested in the French capital and there were incidents between football fans and police on the Champs-Elysees.

Dozens of cars were torched overnight in the eastern city of Lyon.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday congratulated police and firemen for their “speedy reaction and professionalism which contained the violence and to the perpetrators” being apprehended.

Of those arrested, 249 people were in custody.

Last Thursday, when Algeria defeated Ivory Coast to reach the semi-finals, fans went on the rampage in central Paris, looting shops.

On the same day in the southern city of Montpellier, an Algerian football supporter celebrating his team’s win lost control of his car at high speed and ran into a family, killing a woman and seriously injuring her baby.

Paris and Marseilles are home to large minority communities of Algerian origin.

Football celebrations, with supporters brandishing large national flags, have on occasion been a source of tension.

French police were forced to fire tear gas to disperse protesters on the Champs-Elysees, a few hours after President Emmanuel Macron attended the traditional Bastille Day military parade alongside other European leaders.

The boulevard was reopened to traffic as soon as the parade finished but a few hundred protesters from the Yellow Vests movement tried to occupy it.

Paris authorities had banned Yellow Vest protests near the parade, but several groups linked to the movement had called for gatherings around the Champs-Elysees on Bastille Day, a national holiday in France.

Earlier, a police source said 152 people linked to the movement were detained near the avenue as they tried to stage a demonstration.