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'Only' 1,067 vehicles put to torch in France festivities

PARIS--Some 1,067 vehicles were torched in France over New Year's Eve, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced, a marked drop from last year in what has become a turn-of-the-year tradition in rundown areas.

Every year, the night of Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 sees hundreds of cars set ablaze across the country in an orgy of vandalism — as much a tradition as champagne and oysters in more affluent parts of France.

Briefing reporters late on Wednesday, Valls said the number of cars torched over this New Year's Eve had dropped by more than 10 percent.

The Seine-Saint-Denis department that neighbors Paris, the poorest in France, was the clear winner with a total of 80 burnt cars, he added.

Some 53,000 policemen were deployed across the country during New Year's Eve.

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