French police fine 1,200 revellers after Covid rule-busting party
The rave began on New Year’s Eve
More than 1,200 revellers in France were fined after police broke up a days-long party attended by 2,500 people that began on New Year’s Eve.
Several hundred officers were mobilised on Saturday to close the gathering in north-west France, which took place in defiance of Covid-19 restrictions.
About 800 of the partygoers were penalised for attending an illegal party, breaking a curfew and not wearing masks.
Most of the other fines were for use of illegal drugs.
Police clashed with partygoers on Thursday after failing to stop the rave going ahead and decided to wait for reinforcements before closing it down.
Local gendarmes had tried to “prevent this event but faced fierce hostility from many partygoers” who set one of their cars of fire and threw bottles and stones, authorities said at the time.
Those present had come from across France and even abroad, it said.
Interior ministry spokeswoman Camille Chaize said there had been “great hostility, great violence” against police, without indicating when they would enter the rave site.
Such mass gatherings are prohibited across France to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and a nationwide 8pm curfew, which was not lifted for New Year, applies across the country.
French media reported that the rave took place in an empty warehouse belonging to a storage company.
Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the rave and the violence against law enforcement.
Vehicles registered from all over France were seen parked at the venue.
One participant, who gave his name as Jo from the Alsace region of eastern France and refused to be identified further, said they all met at a designated spot in the car park of a shopping centre on Thursday.
The convoy then headed for Lieuron, Brittany, where the police tried to prevent them from passing, he said.
He acknowledged that “very few had respected social distancing” at the event.
French authorities have been worried about mass rave parties throughout the pandemic, but said December 31 was of particular concern.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 132,000 police officers in France worked during the celebrations for security and to enforce the curfew.
Updated: January 2, 2021 08:30 PM