2,500 attend illegal rave in France causing coronavirus alarm

Monitoring Desk

The party was in direct violation of protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Prosecutors have launched an investigation, which could include charges of harming police.

Police were unable to halt an illegal New Year’s rave in northwestern France that saw about 2,500 party-goers in close contact, in direct violation of COVID-19 restrictions, local authorities said Friday.

The rave occurred in Lieron, south of Rennes in Brittany, after clashes with police. Many of the ravers were still on the site on Friday as a sanitary cordon was placed around it.

Local gendarmes said they tried to “prevent this event but faced fierce hostility from many party goers” who set one of their cars on fire and threw bottles and stones. Some police officers suffered light injuries in the commotion.

One participant, who identified himself as Jo from the Alsace region, told French media service AFP, said the revelers met on Thursday evening in the parking lot of a shopping center before traveling to the warehouse for the rave. He said, “very few had respected social distancing” at the event, which was supposed to end on Saturday.

Ravers take over a warehouse for New Year's

Other participants told AFP there were people from foreign countries, including Spain and the UK, at the party. Prosecutors have launched an investigation into the rave, which could include charges of premeditated violence against people in authority.

Trying to fight the virus

France has implemented tough measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. A nationwide curfew between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time (1900-0500 UTC/GMT), which was not lifted for New Year, as well as a ban on mass gatherings, have been in effect for weeks. No more than six adults could meet indoors for New Year.

US-based Johns Hopkins University hospital has said more than 2.6 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in France, leading to nearly 65,000 deaths.

Smaller parties busted up

Other large parties took place across central Europe that were quickly broken up by police. Police shut down parties involving some 300 people in Marseille and 100 people in Seine-et-Marne, according to AFP. Three suspected organizers of the Marseille party were arrested.

German police arrested two people early Friday after a rave in a disused bunker in the western city of Cologne. A police spokesman said about 30 people attended the gathering, which took place in a locked facility. They said they found professional sound equipment and drugs at the scene.  

Courtesy: DW