PARIS, France (CelebrityAccess) — Police in Paris were forced to evacuate Gare de Lyon station, one of the city’s primary train terminals after protesters started a major fire in a bid to disrupt a concert by a Congolese singer.
According to the BBC, the blaze appears to have been set by political opponents of the government of the Democratic who were protesting a concert by singer Fally Ipupa.
“There was big thick smoke. People were surging and setting fire to things,” one witness told the BBC. “It just seemed to get very ugly, very quickly. Traffic was gridlocked in every direction, it was pandemonium.
“The protesters were throwing anything they could at the police and fire brigade who were just trying to do their job. They were just setting fire to anything they could and fighting with each other.”
Protesters took exception to Ipupa performing in Paris, incensed by his reportedly close relationship with President Felix Tshisekedi, who took power a year ago, the BBC reported.
Ipupa, a Congolese singer-songwriter, dancer, guitarist, and producer who was formerly a member of Koffi Olomidé Quartier Latin International, launched a solo career in 2006.
Since then, he has been nominated or won several MTV Africa Music Awards, including Best Video, Best Francophone Artist and Best African Artist.
Despite his success, that hasn’t shielded Ipupa from the criticism that many Congolese artists face from expatriates who hold the elite in the country, and those associated with them, responsible for the financial turmoil that caused many to flee the DRC.