Boy dies after being hit by fleeing car as chaos ensues across France following Morocco’s World Cup semi-final defeat

In a night of civil unrest in major cities across France, a teenage boy died after being hit by a vehicle reportedly attempting to flee the riots

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke
Supporters of France celebrate with flares next to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees at the end of the World Cup semifinal soccer match between France and Morocco, in Paris, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A 14-year-old boy has died after being hit by a car in Montpellier after a night of civil unrest across major French cities following France’s 2-0 victory over Morocco in Wednesday’s FIFA World Cup semi-final.

French news outlet Le Parisien reported images circulating on social media purporting to show a group of young men, believed to be fans of the Moroccan national football team, approaching a white vehicle flying a French tricolor flag as the car was stationary in traffic in the city.

The French newspaper suggests the young man was “apparently trying to snatch the flag when the driver of the car suddenly started and swerved in the direction of the group,” before running over the young man and fleeing the scene without stopping.

A statement by the prefect of l’Hérault, Hugues Moutouh, confirmed the death after “a young boy was violently hit following the football World Cup semi-final match.

“Transferred to the hospital in absolute urgency; he died shortly after his medical treatment. Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.

“The vehicle was found near the scene of the accident and placed in receivership. The police investigation is progressing rapidly under the direction of the prosecution,” the statement read.

According to the deputy of Nupes de l’Hérault, Nathalie Oziol, the incident occurred in the popular district of La Paillade. She tweeted her regret that “the sporting event ended in absolute tragedy.”

Civil unrest erupted in several French cities following Morocco’s semi-final defeat, repeating similar scenes witnessed across multiple European countries in the aftermath of Moroccan games at this year’s flagship football tournament where Morocco became the first ever Arab nation to advance to the final four of the competition.

There were also reports of civil unrest in neighboring Belgium as police mobilized to prevent a repeat of rioting witnessed in the country following Morocco’s defeat of Belgium earlier in the tournament.

As well as Montpellier, there were reports of clashes between French and Moroccan supporters in Paris and Avignon, while footage circulating on social media showed looting and rioting by Moroccan fans in the city of Lyon where, according to independent online magazine Lyon Mag, “rioters forced their way into downtown buildings to find new trash cans to fuel barricades.”

Tensions spilled out in Paris onto the Champs-Élysées where French broadcaster BFMTV reported a total of 115 people were arrested by authorities, according to police sources.

Online footage from Avignon shows a group of people sporting Moroccan football shirts trashing a smoking vehicle abandoned in the city as rioters took over the streets.

The scenes witnessed across the country could have been worse had it not been for the mobilization of more than 10,000 police officers tasked with controlling flaring tensions after the match, with more than 5,000 officers deployed to the Paris region alone.

10,000 police and gendarmes were mobilized across the country to supervise the supporters of the two teams, including 5,000 in Paris and the Paris region, according to Le Parisien.

France’s Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin tweeted on Thursday morning his gratitude to authorities who “allowed those who wanted to celebrate the victory of France and the beautiful course of Morocco to do so.”

“Thoughts for the family of the young boy run over by a driver in Montpellier,” he added, without reference to the numerous videos of other incidents that occurred in a night of chaos across France.

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