French Torch 1137 Cars On New Year's Eve

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

France celebrated New Year’s Eve in its own special way: 1,137 cars went up in flames all across the country. According to Reuters, the number of vehicles torched was only 10 short of the record 1,147 burned last year. France’s Interior Ministry mobilized 45,000 police during the night, 10,000 more than 12 months ago – apparently with little effect.

Police detained 549 people overnight; nearly double the 288 arrested during 2009 New Year celebrations – apparently with little effect.

Elswhere in Europe , 17 cars were set on fire in the Hague, government seatl of the Netherlands, well below last year’s total of 52, says

In Germany,, the website that chronicles burning cars in Berlin (and even maps them on Google,) did not report any special New Year’s Eve activity. They burn cars all year long in Germany’s capital, 207 in 2009.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Jan 04, 2010

    We do not seem to be hearing from French people who own the cars that are burned. You can be certain that we would be hearing from car owners if this sort of thing was going on in anywhere near this scale in the United States. So what happens the first week of January every year, is there a big run on dealerships for cars to replace last year's burned-out ones? Lots of absenteeism at work? The French equivalent of >>Yeah, sorry boss, I'll be late to work because the [rioting suburban youths of pc-ly unspecified religious orientation] burned my damn car again

    • Detroit-Iron Detroit-Iron on Jan 04, 2010

      If this happened in the US anywhere outside of of the unconstitutional enclaves of HI, NJ, MA, IL, or NY, it would only happen once, because there would be a pile of bodies.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Jan 04, 2010

    IIRC, when he was running for President, Mr. Sarkozy swore that he was going to prevent this kind of thing by "going into those suburbs and clean them out with a Kärcher (power washer)"!

  • Bimmer Bimmer on Jan 05, 2010

    wsn, I live in Canada, where, like in majority of civilized countries (such as UK, Australia, France, Finland etc.) we have free healthcare. Maybe you should watch a film by Michael Moore ‘Sicko’. It was aired last Friday on government owned CBC. And see for yourself what treatment real heroes, who risked their life to do search and rescue and later recovery for victims of 9/11, recieved from American healtcare providers for their efforts and for putting their health on the line. And then you can make a judgment.

  • Jimboy Jimboy on Jan 05, 2010

    At the risk of being repetitive, France has a large, unintegrated, Muslim population that lives in 'ghettos' where the police are afraid to enter. Here in Canada, we have our own experience with 'french'(read Quebecois), racists who enforce their own language and culture laws on the rest of the non-french population. Like the French, our media does not report on this for fear of an even more violent backlash from the francophone population. I can in some ways understand the frustration these 'immigrants' feel towards the government in France. For a culture that supposedly invented 'Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood', they do a pretty piss-poor job of it at home. Assimilation is the answer - in France and in Canada. The Americans got it right in this regard.