Passengers evacuated as smoke billows over major railway station in Paris

Police evacuated a major railway station in Paris after a fire engulfed multiple vehicles and sent a large cloud of black smoke over the surrounding neighbourhood.

Officers said the fire was under control by nightfall on Friday but flames could still be seen rising from the street near Gare de Lyon station, by the banks of the River Seine.

At one point, the station’s landmark clock tower was engulfed in smoke.

Paris police said they arrested 54 persons on the margins of a Congolese rapper’s concert at nearby Accorhotels Arena concert hall, near the banks of the Seine River.

Someone set fire to a scooter during an unauthorised concert near the station, and the flames quickly spread to other vehicles nearby, a police official said.

Authorities urged people to avoid the area in eastern Paris while emergency workers fight the fire. Paris police said they have no reports of injuries.

France Fire
Firefighters at the scene, where it is believed a scooter was set alight (Francois Mori/AP)

Tensions arose around a concert by Congolese rapper Fally Ipupa, amid political tensions between those for and against the regime in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Protesters blame Ipupa for being a supporter of the former president of Congo, Joseph Kabila, who stepped down in 2018, and his successor Felix Tshisekedi.

French Interior minister Christophe Castaner tweeted “I condemn the damages and violence committed in the area of Gare de Lyon by individuals who have defied the ban on demonstrations.”