The ritual torching of cars has become a New Year’s tradition in France. Last New Year ’s Eve, 1,137 cars went up in flames in France, a tad less than the 1,147 set ablaze the year before. This year? We’ll never know.
This time around, “the French government is determined to stamp out these scenes of anarchy as part of its highly-publicized campaign against crime,” France24 announced. And that’s what they did, to great effect.
In addition to mobilizing 6,000 extra police officers (800 more than last year, and what good did that do,) France’s Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux instituted a news blackout. The number of torched cars will remain a secret. That, Hortefeux, is to stop the “unhealthy competition” which supposedly eggs on the perpetrators to set fire to more and more cars each year.
“I have decided to put an end to the competition, the sweepstakes, and will no longer publish the number of burnt vehicles,” Hortefeux said. “It is not to hide, but to disrupt a stupid contest that involves burning the cars of honest people.”
According to CNews, the numbers will be buried “as part of annual vandalism figures.”
And it works! No doubt, the French have upheld their tradition and torched now countless cars. But so far, not a single word in the press. Problem solved!
The black-out is so complete that when you google the news for “burning cars france”, you find this story.
Over in Germany, the situation was likewise under control. The German hot-spots for car torchings used to be Berlin and Hamburg. Zero reports of inflamed cars from Berlin. Hamburg reports six. A pretty regular day in a city that counted 140 smoldering cars last year.