France counts 1,193 cars torched on New Year's Eve
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
(AP) -- Like many countries, France sees cars set on fire during the year for many reasons, including gangs hiding clues of their crimes and people making false insurance claims.
But car-torching took a new step in France when it became a way to mark the arrival of the New Year. The practice reportedly began in earnest among youths -- often in poor neighborhoods -- in the 1990s in the region around Strasbourg in eastern France.
It also became a voice of protest during the fiery unrest by despairing youths from housing projects that swept France in the fall of 2005. At the time, police counted 8,810 vehicles burned in less than three weeks.