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FOOTBALL

Seven arrested in Lille as thousands break curfew to celebrate football win

Seven people were arrested as thousands of fans gathered despite a coronavirus curfew to celebrate Lille's Ligue 1 title, the prefecture of the Nord region said on Monday.

Seven arrested in Lille as thousands break curfew to celebrate football win

The fans gathered in the northern French city after Lille won at Angers to clinch the title in their last game of the season on Sunday night.

“The police had to make seven arrests, including one for ‘attempted homicide against the police using a vehicle’,” the prefecture said.

Three people were arrested for throwing projectiles, two for burning rubbish bins and one for possession of fireworks, it added.

Twenty people were treated by emergency services, including three who needed to be taken to hospital, the statement said.

The police had set up a roadblock to control entry to the Grand-Place, the historic centre of the city, but supporters gathered anyway and were allowed to make their way into the square through side streets.

They waved flags and scarves in their team’s colours, in a red halo of smoke, to the sound of exploding firecrackers while singing “We are the
champions” and “Freed from desire” and dancing.

The mood was generally festive and good-natured atmosphere. On Saturday, the regional prefect Michel Lalande had called on the people of Lille to “enjoy this moment of sport in complete safety, in a health context that is improving but remains fragile”.

He asked “everyone to continue to respect all the health measures in force and not to set off fireworks on the public highway”.

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LILLE

One body found after buildings collapse in France’s Lille

Rescue workers retrieved one body early Sunday in the northern French town of Lille, following an hours-long search through the rubble of two collapsed buildings.

One body found after buildings collapse in France's Lille

Rescue workers retrieved one body early Sunday in the northern French town of Lille, following an hours-long search through the rubble of two collapsed buildings.

Two small adjoining houses collapsed in a shopping street in the city centre at around 9:15 am local time (0815 GMT) on Saturday. At first the collapses did not appear to have caused any casualties.

The homes were evacuated during the night as a precaution following a warning by a resident that one of the walls was “warped,” police said.

Authorities soon realised a doctor was missing after calls to his phone went unanswered. He had been lent an apartment in the building for the weekend.

A body was located shortly before 1:30 am on Sunday and fire service Lieutenant Colonel Stephane Beauventre, who is leading the rescue operations, said they believed the victim was the doctor.

“The body went to the forensic institute. It will be clearly identified later,” Beauventre said.

Officials visited neighbouring houses on Saturday to check for cracks or gas leaks after the collapse.

A resident of one of the buildings first noticed something was amiss in the early hours of Saturday, when he returned home and saw that “the building had moved.”

“We could not open the door, we heard rubble falling,” Thibault Lemay told French radio, adding that he immediately warned emergency services. Municipal police and firefighters decided to evacuate the buildings, as “there was a real risk,” said Lille’s mayor Martine Aubry.

Another resident, Benjamin Lopard, 35, told AFP: “I was not yet asleep when the firefighters began to bang on the doors, but I thought they were party people and I stayed in bed.”

“When the police arrived, I realised it was serious,” he said, adding that he left around 5:30 am with his papers, computer and a change of clothes. Both three-storey houses had crumbled by around 9:15 am.

“I realise now the incredible luck we had,” Lopard said. Without the evacuation, he said, “we would all be in wooden boxes.”

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