After 36 Hours, Rave That 'Shames' France Ends

Health officials set up virus testing site near party
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2021 4:45 PM CST
After 36 Hours, Rave That 'Shames' France Ends
A tent used for a holiday rave in Lieuron, France, on Saturday.   (Techno via AP)

About 36 hours after it began—and 24 hours after the crowd beat back police trying to shut the place down—a restriction-defying rave in France faded out Saturday. Local officials said that they issued 1,200 penalty notices, mostly for violations of coronavirus restrictions, and that the organizers will be "severely punished," the Washington Post reports. "Sound equipment and generators were seized," France's interior minister said. About 2,500 people had gathered for the New Year's Eve celebration in warehouses in a village in northwest France. Police had cordoned off the site Friday, intending to fine people as they left, but some managed to leave Saturday without being confronted by police. Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, posted that actions by police "led to the end of the illegal party without violence." Two people suspected of being organizers were being held, per the AP.

The French government is concerned that the Lieuron event will spark a surge in coronavirus cases. The rave violated the nationwide 8pm curfew and other pandemic restrictions. "This gathering shames our country and our caregivers," a local official posted online. Health officials want everyone in attendance to self-quarantine for seven days, and they set up a testing site in the area. "We must consider that all the participants in this rave party were exposed," a local health official said. The national government reportedly was so alarmed that it considered sending in the miltary to break up the rave, which had been planned to continue until Tuesday, after the crowd had repelled local police on Friday. France had planned to back off some of the restrictions, but dropped that idea as cases have risen again; more than 19,000 new coronavirus cases were reported on Friday. In some places, the curfew now will being at 6pm. (More France stories.)

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