Huge plumes of smoke seen in Paris amid 'unacceptable abuses' near concert

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By Euronews
Huge plumes of smoke seen in Paris amid 'unacceptable abuses' near concert
Copyright  Courtesy of Omar HAFA @hafao

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen rising above Paris due to a fire near the Gare de Lyon train station.

The Paris police prefecture said they arrested 37 people after "unacceptable" acts of violence were carried out on the margins of a Congolese rapper's concert in Bercy, near the train station.

Firefighters said they had controlled the blaze that was in the process of being put out.

The rapper, Fally Ipupa, is meant to perform at 8 pm CET at the AccorHotels Arena in Bercy.

Paris' police prefecture had prohibited "all protest rallies in the vicinity" of the concert which they said was happening "in a particularly tense political context" between those for and against the regime in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"I've been sidelined by the French scene for over ten years," the rapper told Jeune Afrique this past week. In 2017, a concert that was supposed to be held at La Cigale was cancelled after police prohibited the event.

It's also happened to other Congolese artists in Paris, accused of being close to the regime in power, French media have reported.

"I condemn the degradations and violence committed in the area near the Gare de Lyon by individuals who have defied the ban on demonstrations," French interior minister Christophe Castaner tweeted.

Police confirmed reports on social media that firefighters were blocked by protesters from getting to the blaze - behaviour the police called "scandalous".

Photos on social media showed thick black smoke rising from near the train station, which police said the public should avoid.

Protesters torched motorbikes and cars parked near the train station.

Euronews/Oliver Miočić
Torched motorbikes outside Gare de LyonEuronews/Oliver Miočić
Euronews/Oliver Miočić