The fire in progress in Paris this evening. Tenani Serge/Avenir Pictures/ABACA
gare de lyon

Fire breaks out near Paris train station after protests led to violence

Police on Twitter told people to avoid the area.

PARIS POLICE REPORTED a fire this evening near the Gare de Lyon train station, which was partially evacuated after violence broke out on the margins of a banned protest against a Congolese artist giving a concert nearby.

Police said it had intervened to stop protesters who set alight garbage bins and scooters, releasing a thick, black smoke cloud over the city centre. 

“Avoid the area and allow the emergency services to intervene,” the police said on Twitter, later saying the fire had been brought under control and was “being extinguished.” 

Paris police tweeted that some demonstrators were preventing the fire and rescue service from accessing the fire. 

The SCNF train service operator said the underground section of the Gare de Lyon was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Police had banned any protests around the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, not far from the station, where Congolese artist Fally Ipupa was to give a concert.

Congolese expats regularly speak out against artists from home who perform in France or Belgium, accusing them of being close to former DR Congo president Joseph Kabila and his successor Felix Tshisekedi.

A 2017 concert by Ipupa was cancelled by police citing risks for “serious disturbances to the public order”. 

More to follow…

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