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Celebrations in France marred by deaths and injuries

7/7/2006 - Soccer

PARIS - Celebrations of France's trip to the World Cup final were marred by deaths, injuries and arrests around the country, though that did little to dampen the jubilant spirit.

Five deaths were reported during festivities around France. In the southern city of Montpellier, a young man died from a knife wound to the neck near a square where the match played on a giant screen.

Two people died in separate traffic accidents, and a young man died jumping off a bridge in the central city of Lyon as he celebrated the win and his high school graduation.

Hours after France beat Portugal, one reveler in Paris fell from the roof of a subway onto the tracks at the Opera Metro station, and an arriving train passed over him, police said.

An estimated half a million fans flooded the streets of the French capital after France's 1-0 win Wednesday night. Some 2,000 police officers deployed in the French capital for the game made almost 200 arrests.

Most fans were energized but peaceful, however, mounting monuments and dancing through streets of numerous cities.

Violent incidents were reported at the Charlety stadium in southern Paris where the match was broadcast on a huge screen. One person was injured and hospitalized, police said.

Street parties after major soccer wins or on New Year's Eve often end with scattered violence. But police have been especially vigilant following riots that broke out last fall in troubled neighborhoods where many immigrants from Africa live with their French-born children.