Fire in central Paris, train station evacuated: Police

Fire in central Paris, train station evacuated during protests: police

A picture shows vehicles and bins burning in a street aside the Gare de Lyon rail station in Paris. (AFP Photo)

Paris police reported a fire Friday near the Gare de Lyon train station, which was partially evacuated after violence broke out on the margins of a banned protest against a Congolese artist giving a concert nearby.

"Avoid the area and allow the emergency services to intervene," the police said on Twitter, later saying the fire had been brought under control and was "being extinguished."

Police said it had intervened to stop protesters who set alight garbage bins and scooters, releasing a thick, black smoke cloud over the city center.

The SCNF train service operator said the underground section of the Gare de Lyon was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Police had banned any protests around the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, not far from the station, where Congolese artist Fally Ipupa was to give a concert.

Congolese ex-pats regularly speak out against artists from home who perform in France or Belgium, accusing them of being close to former DR Congo president Joseph Kabila and his successor Felix Tshisekedi.

A 2017 concert by Ipupa was cancelled by police citing risks for "serious disturbances to the public order".

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