A car crashed through the barricades during the Tour de France, leaving the police with no other option but to open fire.
The barricades were set up approximately eight hours before Tour de France cyclists were set to complete their race in Paris on Sunday morning. When a car, carrying two occupants, tried to crash through the barricades at the Place de la Concorde, where the race ends, the police fired gunshots, the Washington Post reports.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) July 26, 2015
The police then pursued the vehicle after it hit a parked car at the Champs-Élysées, which intersects with Place de la Concorde, and sped away. France has remained on high alert for terrorism since a terrorist attack took place at the Charlie Hebdo office and a Jewish food store last January. However, the police are downplaying the incident that occurred over the weekend, and saying they do not believe it was tied to terrorism, but rather that it was just a bunch of kids who had been out partying taking a joyride.
“This is a minor incident. It wasn’t aimed at the Tour de France, it’s not terrorism,” a police official told Reuters. “It’s just a simple refusal to comply, as there are many every day.”
“The scenario is becoming clearer. The party ended badly,” the officer added.
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According to ABC News, the driver of the vehicle was a 17-year-old boy, who did not have a license. Another teenage boy, whose identity has not been released, was a passenger in the car. A young woman, who sustained a bullet wound, was also said to have been in the vehicle at the time. She, along with one of the boys, were injured and treated at a local hospital. They are both expected to recover.
Luckily, none of the cyclists were anywhere near the barricades when the incident took place, and no police officers were injured. There were no spectators present at the time, as well. Race director Thierry Gouvenou said they would not be making any changes to their post-race podium event.
Britain’s Chris Froome went on to win the Tour, making this his second win.
— Complex Sports (@Complex_Sports) July 27, 2015
Froome said he has been the target of spectators before, with some throwing urine on him and spitting at him. However, he said the majority of spectators are there to offer their support for the cyclists.
“There were a couple of people out there – I was aware of a few people spitting again,” he said on Saturday. “But 99 percent were absolutely fantastic and just cheering, that’s what the Tour de France is about. It makes it so special when thousands of people line the roads to cheer the race and all the riders. It’s a shame that a few individuals tarnish the race for others but for the vast majority, the support is overwhelming, especially from a British point of view.”
[Photo by Grzegorz Petrykowski / Shutterstock]