On Halloween night, a mob of 20 to 30 people attacked police and firefighters after setting fire to two schools in a ‘sensitive area’ in the French city of Béziers.
The fires broke out at around 10:30 pm near Katia College and Maurice Kraft, both located in the Devèze district in Beziers. Both police and fighter fighters, upon arriving at the scene, were met by a mob of people who attacked them with rocks and firecrackers, Le Figaro reports.
Police said that the mob of attackers wore masks to hide their identities.
According to firefighters, by the time they were able to get the fires under control, significant damage had occurred.
“A hundred meters of a primary school was burned. A dozen rooms were heavily damaged, two of which were totally destroyed,” one firefighter said.
About a three minute walk away, Tamaris primary school was also severely damaged.
“The Tamaris school was severely damaged by fire. Several rooms and classrooms are completely destroyed,” said a source close to the case. “The fumes spread in almost the entire establishment, resulting in all the classrooms becoming blackened from smoke.”
Although no arrests were made during the night, earlier in the evening police were able to detain a 15-year-old male who was throwing stones at officers close to one of the schools that was later set ablaze.
About forty firefighters were mobilized during the night the extinguish different fires. One suffered injuries after a broken window fell on him.
In response to night’s events, Robert Ménard, the mayor of Béziers said: “A minority rots the lives of people in the neighborhood. We must punish them harshly and not just be satisfied with words.”
The mayor also mentioned that a temporary reception center would be set up so that the primary school can continue to hold classes on Monday.
French Interior Minister Christoph Castaner also condemned the attack, saying: “Arson of a school is an offense to the Republic. Along with Jean-Michel Blanquer, I condemn these unacceptable acts. They cannot go unpunished: everything will be done so that their authors respond to justice.”