France: Youths burn cars in New Year's Eve unrest

Youths threw stones at firefighters and burned cars in scattered unrest during New Year's Eve celebrations in France, where police were mobilized to prevent a repeat outburst of rioting that broke out this fall. Surveillance helicopters and about 25,000 French police were on alert for the holiday. Every New Year's Eve, youths set hundreds of cars ablaze as festivities get out of hand. Police are being especially cautious this time because of the wave of rioting and car-torchings that broke out for three weeks starting in late October. A state of emergency imposed during the rioting is still in effect. Soon after midnight, the first reports of scattered attacks emerged. A small fire broke out at a school in Toulouse, in southwest France, and was quickly put out, local authorities said. In the area around Nice in the French Riviera, police and firefighters reported about 12 cars burned. In the nearby Var department of southern France, youths threw rocks at firefighters in a troubled neighborhood of La-Seine-sur-Mer, local authorities said. Outside Paris in the suburb of Argenteuil, a small fire was reported at a cultural center. Youths torched several cars in the Paris area.