Seven “youths” in the French town of Rochefort have been arrested after setting cars on fire, explaining they wanted to act like how those in the “big cities” do.
The seven young people, aged between 18 and 24, were arrested in the western French town and are accused of setting ten fires, including to vehicles and garbage bins, between mid-June and early July, Sud Ouest reports.
Following their arrest, four members of the group admitted to starting the fires while the three others denied the crime but claimed to be confused over the charges saying they were just acting as other youths do in France’s larger cities.
Last week, police in the region posted pictures of some of the vehicles that were burned including a white van and several garbage bins which had melted from the fire.
The suspects are set to be tried in court in December facing charges of arson.
Car burnings have become a common sight on both New Year’s Eve and in the summer on Bastille Day in Paris as well as other major cities across the country, with 1,031 vehicles set on fire last New Year’s Eve.
French Sociologist Michel Wieviorka labelled the car burnings “playful” earlier this year, claiming that there was no political element to the arson and saying: “It is very easy, technically, to set a vehicle on fire and run away immediately.”
Mass car burnings have also taken place in protest following perceived cases of police brutality. The most recent riots, which lasted for several nights in early July, occurred in Nantes following the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old who tried to evade a police checkpoint.
“I saw everything burning. There were fires in the bins, the cars. They were breaking everything. It lasted ages,” a witness said.