Despite the corona pandemic, around 2,500 people illegally celebrated New Year’s Eve in Brittany and kept the police busy for almost a day and a half. Since hardly any of the participants at the huge rave party in northeastern France wore a mask or adhered to the rules of distance, the authorities fear that the event could become a super spreader. France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced tough sanctions against participants in the rave on Twitter on Saturday.
According to the prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine, five people were arrested and 1,200 paid warnings were issued at the Lieuron underground celebration. They were mainly issued for violations of the mask requirement and the night curfew as well as illegal participation in a meeting. Interior Minister Darmanin announced that initial investigations are ongoing.
Isolated resistance to police operations
By early Thursday evening, more and more young people were gathering on the industrial site south of the Breton city of Rennes. According to the prefecture, guests from other French departments and even from abroad were also drawn to the disused hangar in Lieuron. Law enforcement officials tried to stop the party and faced violence from some of the celebrants. Three gendarmes were injured during the operation.
The security forces were on duty on the premises for hours. They secured the area and distributed disinfectants and masks. Access to the party was stopped before New Year’s Eve, as Interior Minister Darmanin wrote. The departure of cars was controlled, the warnings were systematically issued. As the French news agency AFP reported, a number of people still celebrated at the rave on Friday evening.
The illegal party did not end until Saturday morning. As reported by the French media, the sound was cut early in the morning and the system was dismantled. In the morning, the national gendarmerie announced on Twitter that the party had come to an end. According to the prefecture, the area was under the control of the emergency services at around 10 a.m.
Due to the corona pandemic, strict contact restrictions apply in France. According to a government recommendation, no more than six adults should meet at home on New Year’s Eve. A night curfew also prohibits leaving the house between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. without a valid reason.
Politicians react indignantly
In the tense health situation, the illegal mass party caused outrage. The MP Florian Bachelier wrote on Twitter that the meeting “puts our country to shame, our nurses who have been on duty for months, our dead”. MP Aurore Berge also said on Twitter: “ It cannot be that a handful of people let us pay for their inconsistency” and called for systematic controls and warnings.
In addition to the indignation, the huge event also triggered concerns about numerous new infections with the corona virus. The Breton health authority urged the party guests to isolate themselves immediately and get tested. A test center has been set up in Lieuron, as the prefecture wrote. Encourage participants in the illegal party to visit the test site. (afp, apa)