France New Year’s Tradition Leaves 1,193 Cars Burnt On New Year’s Eve
Hundreds of empty, parked cars go up in flames in France each New Year’s Eve, set afire by young revelers, a much lamented tradition that remained intact this year with 1,193 vehicles burned, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday.
His announcement was the first time in three years that such figures have been released. The conservative government of former President Nicolas Sarkozy had decided to stop publishing them in a bid to reduce the crime – and not play into the hands of car-torching youths who try to outdo each other.
France’s current Socialist government decided otherwise, deeming total transparency the best method, and the rate of burned cars apparently remained steady. On Dec. 31, 2009, the last public figure available, 1,147 vehicles were burned.