Muslim prayer hall ransacked by Koran-burning demonstrators in Corsica

  • Furious mob smashed glass and burned the Koran in the prayer hall attack.
  • In response to two firefighters being wounded by ‘several hooded youths’.
  • Up to 600 protesters gathered at the police HQ in capital Ajaccio on Friday.
  • Marched in the city chanting ‘This is our home’ before last night’s violence.
A picture taken on December 25, 2015 shows a devastated prayer room in Ajaccio, after protesters vandalized it and tried to set fire to copies of Koran, near a working-class neighbourhood of Ajaccio where two firefighters and one police officer were injured last night during clashes, the French police and prefecture said. / AFP / Pierre-Antoine FOURNILPIERRE-ANTOINE FOURNIL/AFP/Getty Images

A picture taken on December 25, 2015 shows a devastated prayer room in Ajaccio, after protesters vandalized it and tried to set fire to copies of Koran, near a working-class neighbourhood of Ajaccio where two firefighters and one police officer were injured last night during clashes, the French police and prefecture said. / AFP / Pierre-Antoine FOURNILPIERRE-ANTOINE FOURNIL/AFP/Getty Images

Up to 600 French protesters desecrated a Muslim prayer hall in Corsica in a revenge attack prompted by the wounding of two firefighters and a police officer.

The furious mob smashed the prayer hall’s glass door, ransacked the interior and left around 50 partially-burned Korans littering the street overnight.

Chanting ‘Arabs get out!’ and ‘This is our home’, protesters marched through the streets of the French Mediterranean island’s capital, Ajaccio.

Destruction: Up to 600 protesters marched through the streets of the French Mediterranean last night, and burned copies of the Koran (pictured)

Destruction: Up to 600 protesters marched through the streets of the French Mediterranean last night, and burned copies of the Koran (pictured)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the attack on Twitter as ‘an unacceptable desecration’, and branded the violence towards the firefighters as an ‘intolerable attack’.

The violence began on the night of December 24, when two firefighters were ‘ambushed’ by ‘several hooded youths’ in the low-income neighbourhood of Jardins de L’Empereur.

It escalated when several hundred people gathered in front of police headquarters in the capital city, before marching through the streets to the housing estate where the attack on the firefighters took place.

They then launched the violent assault on the local prayer room.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazaneuve insisted the perpetrators of both incidents would be tracked down and arrested, adding that there was no place for ‘racism and xenophobia’ in France.

Violence: The attack on the prayer hall followed the 'ambush' of two firefighters in the city on Thursday night by 'several hooded youths' 

Violence: The attack on the prayer hall followed the ‘ambush’ of two firefighters in the city on Thursday night by ‘several hooded youths’ 

Revenge: Local authorities including Christophe Mirmand, the prefect or top official of Corsica, also vowed to arrest those responsible for the outbreak of violence

Revenge: Local authorities including Christophe Mirmand, the prefect or top official of Corsica, also vowed to arrest those responsible for the outbreak of violence

death of immigrant Capture

Police remained in Ajaccio overnight, securing five Muslim places of worship in the city.

The violence came amid heightened security over the festive period, with around 120,000 French police, members of armed units and soldiers mobilised on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

France is witnessing a rise in anti-Muslim and anti-migration feeling following the November 13 terror attacks in Paris which left 130 people dead.

The recent regional elections saw the far-right National Front party almost take victory, until it was defeated at the last moment by tactics from the Socialist President Francois Hollande.  

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