Over a dozen vehicles were left burnt out on Tuesday night in France’s Alençon and police and firefighters came under fire from incendiaries and other projectiles, after a 16-year-old was arrested on suspicion of selling drugs.

A group of some 20 young people took to the streets in the town of Alençon in Normandy, torching cars and attacking emergency-services personnel with an array of projectiles and fireworks.  

“We deplore this night of urban violence in Perseigne, in Alençon, in which there were a dozen vehicles set on fire,” Françoise Tahéri, prefect of the Orne district, told BFMTV. Tahéri added that the police intervened quickly to stabilize the situation and were reinforced by gendarmes. 

Firefighters and police officers intervened around midnight, after being notified that several private vehicles had been set on fire. Upon arriving at the scene, they came under fire from around 20 youths positioned in different places around the neighborhood, according to BFMTV. Thirteen gendarmes were sent in as reinforcements, and the clashes concluded around 3:30am.

Tahéri said she was delighted that nobody was injured and praised the intervention of law enforcement. Town major Joaquim Pueyo described the events as “extremely serious.” In footage shared online, passing cars can be seen coming under attack from mortars. 

Cette nuit le quartier de Perseigne a connu une flambée de violences. Une quinzaine de voitures ont été incendiées et les forces de l’ordre ont été visées par des tirs de mortiers d’artifice après qu’un jeune du quartier a été interpellé pour trafic dans la matinée #Alenç

Images posted on social media on Wednesday morning show the extent of the devastation, with numerous burnt-out cars being transported for scrapping. 

Les carcasses de voitures sont en train d’être retirées ce matin à #Alencon, sous surveillance de policiers casqués. Des jeunes du quartier sont en train de ramasser des pavés.

French police are sending reinforcements to the Normandy town of Alençon were rioters torched 13 cars overnight and used fireworks launchers to attack the police. The violence was sparked by the arrest of a 16-year old suspected drug dealer.

The unrest was apparently prompted by the arrest of a 16-year-old boy who was allegedly caught selling drugs to a woman in the area. During a press conference on Wednesday, Tahéri stated the authorities believed the violence was related to Tuesday’s arrest of a suspected drug dealer. 

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