It was then adopted on a wider scale as a form of protest, reaching peak with the nationwide protests of 2005, when a record number of vehicles was torched: some 9,000 over the course of three weeks.
Even after the protests died down, car-torching remained: figures from 2019 showed that 1,316 cars were torched on New Year’s throughout the country. There are no official figures for 2020, because we all know what a terrible year it was and how it impacted the end of the year celebrations through enforced lockdowns and a string of restrictions.
At the end of 2021, “only” 874 vehicles were torched on purpose in France, which is 874 cars more than normal, but still less than in previous years. The figures were made public by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Twitter, and they confirm that this strange and very unproductive tradition continues.
Not all the cars torched on New Year’s are burned down just for the heck of it, of course. Like in many other parts of the globe, arson is chosen as a means to hide another crime, including automotive theft and insurance fraud. But the reality remains that, in France, there’s a small group of people who consider torching another man or woman’s car a good way to ring in the New Year. There’s really nothing we could add to this to show just how wrong it is, because you’re probably thinking it already.
Here’s to a better, more peaceful and less dangerous 2022!
La nuit de la Saint-Sylvestre a connu une baisse des violences grâce au dispositif des forces de l'ordre. Merci aux près de 130 000 policiers, gendarmes et personnels de la sécurité civile qui ont porté secours et assuré la sécurité des Français cette nuit. pic.twitter.com/DTEUE3dyGf— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) January 1, 2022