France has qualified for the 2022 World Cup final, defeating Morocco 2-0 on Wednesday. In Lyon, hundreds of supporters gathered in Place Bellecour to celebrate the victory, setting off firecrackers and fireworks. However, celebrations quickly turned violent as clashes broke out between the police and members of the far-right.
According to the Rhône prefecture, the police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Public transportation was heavily impacted by the events, and the police sought to prevent members of the far-right from attacking North African individuals in Place Bellecour. The crowd was eventually dispersed by the police in the surrounding streets.
Firecrackers and broken glass were left scattered on the ground, and garbage fires were reported in Place Bellecour at around 11:10 pm. The atmosphere in the city was described as tense and violent. The involvement of the far-right was confirmed by the prefecture.
La tension monte sur la place Bellecour à #Lyon, après la victoire de la France en demi-finale de Coupe. Les policiers chargent la foule qui répond à coups de tirs de mortier. Des grenades fumigènes ont été lancés.
— Le Progrès Lyon (@leprogreslyon) December 14, 2022
The situation continued to deteriorate at Bellecour square after 11:30 pm, with crowd movements taking place.
At least four arrests were made. Calm eventually returned to downtown Lyon after midnight, although trash and damage had accumulated. Bus traffic gradually resumed.
France will now face Argentina in the World Cup final.