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PARIS — A major train station in the center of Paris was evacuated after a huge fire broke out nearby.

Clouds of black smoke could be seen billowing near the Gare de Lyon station — one of six major stations in the French capital — as a row of parked scooters and motorcycles burned.

Police told NBC News that clashes broke out between people attending a concert by singer Fally Ipupa, a star in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and those boycotting it.

Ipupa was set to perform at the AccorHotels Arena on Friday night.

“Scooters were first set on fire then the fire quickly propagated,” police said, adding that public demonstrations had previously been banned in the area surrounding the event.

Police had earlier tweeted that cars were also set alight along the sidewalk.

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen powering towards the sky in videos and pictures posted by eyewitnesses on social media.

Others showed an angry mob attacking firefighters at the scene.

The fire was started deliberately, police tweeted, adding that it resulted from “unacceptable abuses committed on the margins of a concert.”

Advising people to avoid the area so that emergency services could get through, police said they were evacuating the station as a precaution.

They also tweeted that fire services had control of the fire and it was being put out.

A fire fighter works at the scene of a fire near Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris on Friday. Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

The fires come less than a year after a huge blaze engulfed Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, caused the historic building’s roof to collapse.

The fire, which took nine hours to extinguish, also destroyed a spire and spread to one of its two rectangular towers.

The house of worship, with roots dating back to the 12th century, is considered one of the world’s greatest examples of French Gothic architecture.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Nancy Ing reported from Paris, Henry Austin reported from London.



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