The historic Gare de Lyon train station in Paris was evacuated after an individual or group of people deliberately set fire to scooters parked outside on Friday.
The fire was set by people protesting singer Fally Ipupa’s concert, who they accused of being too close to the Congolese government, the BBC reported. Police had banned protests against the concert earlier in the day, citing a “tense political context,” according to the BBC.
BREAKING: Fire erupts at train station in central Paris pic.twitter.com/HVSIHXhgrs
— BNO News (@BNONews) February 28, 2020
Due to close ties that some musicians have with the political elite of the Congo, many in the Congolese diaspora have protested or in some cases, tried to physically assault any musician that visited Europe from the Congo, the BBC reported. Ipupa is the first Congolese artist to perform in Europe in nearly a decade. Ipupa was scheduled to perform at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris. (RELATED: Here’s What We Know About The Notre Dame Fire)
Clashes broke out between protestors and concert goers, and protestors are accused of setting a row of parked scooters and motorcycles near the historic Gare de Lyon train station aflame. Police later tweeted that 30 people had been arrested in connection with the incident, and added that the fire was set deliberately, NBC News reported.
The fire took nine hours to extinguish, destroyed a spire and spread to one of its two rectangular towers, according to NBC News. At one point, the station’s landmark clock tower was engulfed in smoke, USA Today reported.
The Gare de Lyon was built for the World Exposition of 1900, the same exhibition that had featured what is today the universally recognized Eiffel Tower the year prior. It is considered a relic of the Belle Époque era.