From Marseille to Paris. Thousands of French fans braved the intense cold and took to the streets across the country this Wednesday night, to celebrate the move to the fourth final of a World Cup and the second in a row.
Paris, Lyon, Nantes and Lille were some of the big cities where Les Bleus fans, dressed in national team jerseys, French flags and faces painted with the tricolore; They celebrated by launching rockets, lighting flares, music, vehicle horns and chants in a festive atmosphere.
Until now, the festivities have passed practically without major shocks, although the Gendarmerie has acted on occasion in Paris, Nice, Lille and Lyon to break up small concentrations of violent acts and attempts to loot shopping centers. Even so, the country's security forces and bodies are alert all night in case there are disturbances and blur the development of the festive celebrations.
The contrast with the celebrations on previous World Cup nights with Moroccan and French fans, respectively, is remarkable. The country's authorities have deployed some 10,000 gendarmes spread across various cities and of these, some 2,000 were deployed on the emblematic Champs-Élysées, a favorite venue in the French capital.
Kylian Mbappé's France will try to revalidate their World Cup soccer title against Argentina's Leo Messi in a dream final on Sunday. To do this, they eliminated yesterday in the semifinals (2-0) an extraordinary team from Morocco, the first African team to have reached the semifinals of a World Cup.
Already in The Hague (Netherlands), the large police deployment in the center of the city stopped the few Moroccan fans who tried to process their duel with violence in the streets, as on previous nights with the victories of the Moroccan team. Thus, neighbors and families were able to go out into the street in peace and thank the historic feat of their team in the World Cup in Qatar.
The police in Brussels (Belgium) have not specified, for now, the number of detainees after the riots tonight in the city center. Belgian security forces deployed water cannons and fired tear gas at the defiant and violent behavior of the Moroccan fans.
As on other occasions, in which Morocco did win, the Moroccan community itself has distanced itself from the serious incidents that occurred tonight. Previously, he formed a human chain "for peace" to stop any non-festive act, but to no avail.
The same gesture of gratitude in The Hague was also experienced in Barcelona. Some 200 fans from Morocco gathered in the Canaletes boulevard to thank the effort and the historic result on their way through the championship. A kilometer away, at the Arc de Triomf, a hundred French supporters celebrated the victory and the pass to the final of their team. Both, in a festive atmosphere.