French police shut down party defying COVID rules

French police shut down party defying COVID rules”

Techno music had blared out during the night from the warehouses, which had been transformed into illegal nightclubs for party-goers who had flocked to the site from across France and even from overseas.

A nationwide curfew between 8 pm and 6 am 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.

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

"Police controls are taking place around the site". France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin said Saturday Jan. 2, 2021, a judicial investigation has been opened to identify and prosecute organizers of an underground party that drew at least 2,500 people in western France despite a curfew amid the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of people were also fined for using illicit drugs, he said.

"There has been no intervention by security forces", said the prefecture in a statement, adding that police were checking all those leaving the site.

The prefecture said the first revellers began leaving Saturday morning without further intervention from the police. The salesman was part of a group of five from Brittany that attended the rave.

Police made numerous attempts to close it down, but partygoers turned aggressive and threw bottles and stones at cops as well as setting one of their cars on fire.

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Some attendees said they had hoped to stay for longer.

Alexis, a 22-year-old baker, said "at one point you say to yourself: "I am going to force my New Year".

France on Saturday recorded 3,466 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, below the 19,348 reported a day earlier, data from the Health Ministry showed.

The French authorities have been anxious about mass rave parties throughout the pandemic, but New Year's Eve was a particular concern.

Officials have now opened an investigation into the illegal party and have urged anyone who attended to self-isolate for seven days.

The prefecture said in a tweet that a testing centre had been set up in a gymnasium in Lieuron. Current Covid restrictions forbid Britons from travelling to France for non-essential reasons.

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