This time a train station in Paris was set alight as a bunch of Congolese ground apes protested.
Maybe the French will soon learn that you can take the ape out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the ape.
Commuters and holidaymakers were told to leave the building, which handles some 90 million passengers a year, after the blaze started soon after 6pm on Friday at the height of the evening rush hour.
Riot police had been called to the area after opponents of the regime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo started demonstrating against a concert by the singer Fally Ipupa.
The 42-year-old performer is a supporter of Congolese president Felix Tshilombo and there is a large opposition movement against him based in Paris.
It is thought that bins and scooters were set alight during the demonstration and footage from the scene showed huge clouds of black smoke billowing over the busy station.
A spokesman for the Paris Police Prefecture said there had been 30 arrests around the Gare de Lyon by 8pm, and 54 formal warnings issued against people taking part in an illegal demonstration.
Protests have been happening in the surrounding streets throughout the day ahead of Fally Ipupa’s performance at the Accor Hotels Arena in Bercy tonight.
Despite the destruction, police have said they now have the blaze under control. It is not thought that the fires will cause any disruption to Eurostar services from London, with the trains operating from Gare du Nord.
One video from the scene showed dozens of people pushing firefighters away and telling them to turn around as they tried to get to the blaze.
Paris Police shared the video, of what it said was ‘scandalous behaviour’, showing protesters wielding large roadworks barriers to stop firefighters from getting to the blaze.
While other clips shared on social media showed the fire burning under a bridge and next to a row of parked scooters.
The SCNF train service operator said the underground section of the Gare de Lyon was evacuated as a precautionary measure. Train traffic was severely disrupted.
Outside the station, a dozen firetrucks were seen at work amid the smouldering wrecks of about 30 vehicles, mainly bikes.
Congolese expats regularly speak out against artists from home who perform in France or Belgium. They accuse them of being close to former DR Congo president Joseph Kabila and his successor Felix Tshisekedi.
‘Fally Ipupa is due to play a concert at the Accor Hotels Arena in Bercy tonight, but a call went out for opponents to start demonstrating,’ said a Paris police source.
‘Protestors were congregating around the station, and some started setting light to parked motorbikes. Fire spread and soon the station itself was on fire,’ the source added. ‘When fire engines arrived, fighting broke out.’
The source added: ‘The firefighters themselves were targeted, with rioters telling them to turn back and let buildings burn.’
As the main fire intensified, the famous Big Ben-style clock tower on the corner of the Gare de Lyon was threatened.
It was built for the Paris World Exposition of 1900, and is considered a classic example of the architecture of its time. The station also houses the Train Bleu restaurant, which is hugely popular with British visitors to the capital.
Outside the arena on Friday night, Ipupa backers and Congolese opposition faced off, exchanging insults.
‘With their music, they (the Congolese government) are bringing an entire people to their side while they slaughter and rape women and children,’ opponent Willy Dendebe claimed at the scene.
‘I have been here (in France) for 30 years because of them! Thirty years and we let them be here in France as if nothing has happened. So yes, we are angry!’
Lwangi Bienvenu, a fan who travelled from Belgium for the concert, observed the chaos from his hotel near the Gare de Lyon.
‘It’s a shame. He’s Congolese, we should all be behind him,’ Bienvenu said of the singer. ‘People will talk about the bad inside us. They put people in danger and they will now surely cancel the concert.’
Disturbances have been seen before and in 2017 concert by Ipupa was cancelled by police citing risks for ‘serious disturbances to the public order’.