2022 World Cup: the Champs-Élysées celebrates the Blues’ victory
“Ohn is in the final, we are in the final! Hundreds of supporters gathered spontaneously despite the cold Wednesday on the famous Parisian avenue, as cars driving down the Champs-Élysées honked their horns. The Blues’ qualification to the final of the 2022 World Cup was celebrated by supporters even before the end of the match against Morocco (2-0). “It’s a party, we won, we’re in the final. For me, we will win without a doubt (Sunday’s final), this is our hero, I wanted to experience this on the Champs, it’s once in a lifetime,” said Agence France-Presse Anna Issa, 18, came from Reunion to Paris ” in the absence of going to Qatar”.
“I’m very happy to be back in the final, it’s the second time in four years (after 2018)”, added Sylvain Badin, 24. “And it’s very happy to find Argentina (in the final). I came to share a moment of joy,” he added before folding and hiding his French flag to try to find a friend. In the first half of the match, several dozen Moroccan supporters gathered, with their country’s star-studded red flag on their backs to follow the match on their mobile phones. “We lost, but it’s just football, we made history by going to the semi-finals. […] We are proud of our country and happy for France,” insisted Kamal Seddiki, a 22-year-old Moroccan student.
When France doubled Kolo Muani’s bet (79e), the target was met by a CRS bus that triggered its siren. The atmosphere remained positive with a heavy presence of police and gendarmes, some equipped with helmets and shields. According to a police source, a group of 40 people close to the ultra-right, who were preparing to join the Champs-Élysées in Paris after the semi-final, were arrested in a check on the 17e district, especially for “grouping with intent to commit violence” and carrying prohibited weapons.
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The forces of order were widely deployed in the tight axis and around framing the celebrations with small skirmishes, responding to jets of projectiles with charges and tear gas fire. A total of 115 arrests took place in the Paris area, including 101 in Paris, police headquarters said, before 1 am Thursday.
A death in Montpellier
But these scenes of joy were marred by a victim in the south of France. A teenager died in Montpellier, hit by “a driver”, following France’s qualification for the World Cup final in Qatar against Morocco, the prefecture announced. The driver fled and “the vehicle was found near the scene of the accident and placed in sequestration”, the prefecture added in a press release specifying that “the police investigation is progressing rapidly under the direction of the prosecution”.
The victim, who was transferred to the hospital in full emergency, died after his medical treatment. According to the representative of Nupes de l’Hérault Nathalie Oziol, the facts took place in the famous district of La Paillade and the victim was 14 years old, she indicated on Twitter, regretting that “this sporting event ends completely The prosecution could not immediately be reached to provide more details on the circumstances of the fatal accident.
In Bordeaux, the Place de la Victoire was filled with people from the final whistle. According to the prefecture, 2,500 people were there around 10:30 pm, with no apparent overflow. “We are happy for France”, assured Hossam Boutalah, a 20-year-old student, who endorsed the Moroccan flag. “We are brothers, after all, we are together”, he said, although “Morocco played well and deserved to score a goal”. In Marseille, 3,000 people were present in the Old Port, without any notable incident, and several thousand supporters gathered in the center of Nice.
Seven arrests in Lyon
The city of Lyon is the scene of revelry and horn concerts. But, shortly after the end of the match, “a group of far-right youths approached supporters gathered in Place Bellecour. A fight broke out and the police quickly intervened to disperse the group and follow it,” according to a prefectural source.The prefecture reported seven arrests in total, including two of ultra-right activists.
In Annecy, one arrest took place after projectiles were thrown at police and a man was evacuated to hospital, injured in a fight, according to the Haute-Savoie prefecture. Arrests were also reported in Avignon: 14 including eight for mortar fire, according to a police report sent to Agence France-Presse.
However, no incident was listed in Strasbourg, but a rally in the Place Kléber, at the foot of the emblematic Christmas tree, where the supporters, under the snow, sang the Marseillaise.