Nov. 2 (UPI) — France deployed 15,000 police officers to control violence during a Halloween night where teenagers threw stones at police, burned vehicles and looted a store.
About 82 people were placed in custody, out of 116 people — mostly teenagers — questioned, after incidents in several cities that, according to the country’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, were not as serious as violent outbreaks in previous years but still “totally anormal, [and] scandalous.”
“Police are not targets. The purge, that is not a joke,” the minister said on Twitter about alleged calls on social media for attacks against police officers and the burning of private and public property.
The incidents included the burning of 13 vehicles in Rennes, where a 15-year-old was hit by a plastic bullet while he threw projectiles at police. In Poitiers, five vehicles were burned and three cars were burned in Nantes. In Rhones, seven vehicles were burned, the newspaper Le Figaro reported. Trash cans were burned in several places across the country.
The attackers threw stones at police in several locations. In Etampes, part of metropolitan Paris, about 20 masked individuals broke into an upscale sporting goods store and ransacked its contents, with most making off with stolen property before police arrived, Le Figaro said.
At least two teenagers will face criminal charges in relation to calls on social media for a “purge” of police officers on Halloween night, supposedly as part of a violent game seeking to imitate the U.S. terror film series of the same name, Le Figaro said. Their hearings will be held later in November.
“All the weapons are authorized. Burn everything you see: autos, trash cans, etc,” the messages spread through social media said, according to the newspaper.