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PARIS, January 2. /TASS/. New Year celebrations in France were again marred by a series of car burnings in which over 650 vehicles were set ablaze, the country’s interior ministry said late Sunday.
"The number of burned cars shows that this phenomenon, as unacceptable as it is, continues to exist. A total of 650 cars were set ablaze while last year there were 602 such cases," the ministry said in a statement.
However, the ministry reported an overall trend of decline in the car burnings, which have effectively become an annual event in French suburbs since the 2005 riots. "In the past five years, the number of torched vehicles dropped by 20%, the ministry said.
Security has been tough on New Year’s eve around France, with more than 100,000 police officers, firemen and civilian activists on duty to prevent major disturbances. "No major incidents were reported on the Saint Sylvestre night (New Year’s eve)," the statement reads, adding that "sporadic occasions of tensions or public disorders" still took place.
"A total of 454 people were detained by police officers and gendarmes during the night, 301 of them were placed in custody," the interior ministry said.