Arrests, arson mark third night of anti-Sarkozy protests


Paris : Arrests were made for the third night in a row in France as violent protests broke out in Paris, Toulouse and Lyon over the election of conservative Nicolas Sarkozy as president, police said.

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The local office of Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement in the central city of Villeurbanne also caught fire in what police called arson.

In Paris, clashes between police and mainly leftist protesters occurred after about 150 demonstrators blocked access to Bastille Square. They chanted slogans such as “Sarko, fascist” and “Police everywhere, justice nowhere.” As police moved in to disperse the protesters, violence broke out.

One demonstrator was hurt and a number were arrested, mainly to identify the people involved in the violence, which has occurred each night since Sarkozy’s win in Sunday’s election, police said late Tuesday.

In Lyon, France’s second-largest city, about 200 mostly young Sarkozy opponents took to the streets. Some began rioting and two were arrested, police said.

In nearby Villeurbanne, no one was hurt in the fire at Sarkozy’s party’s office, police said. Mayor Jean-Paul Bret condemned the arson saying: “In a democratic state, there is no room for such acts.”

Another arson was reported at a car dealership in a suburb of Toulouse, and several cars went up in flames. Earlier, young people clashed there with police, but an anti-Sarkozy demonstration in central Toulouse took place without incident.

Sarkozy won Sunday’s election against Socialist Segolene Royal with 53.06 percent of the vote.