France’s police have ended a massive two-day illegal rave in the country’s northwest, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has said. The party had kicked off on New Year Eve and descended into clashes between police and revelers.
The out-of-control rave, staged in the French town of Lieuron in defiance of anti-coronavirus restrictions, was ultimately brought to an end on Saturday. In addition to the enduring ban on mass gatherings, France maintains a night-time curfew, and the Lieuron event was violating multiple restrictions at once.
The police continue to monitor the situation to make sure all the revelers leave the location, Darmanin said on Twitter.
“The interior security forces, numerous on this night at my request and [in light of] the intensive controls put in place, have led to the end of the rave party,” he wrote, adding that the police continue to check the revelers and issue fines.
Law enforcement seized a truck, sound equipment and generators at the site, the minister added in a subsequent tweet, assuring the French public that the police is hard at work to ensure that “this illegal event is severely punished.” So far, over 1,200 fines have been issued to participants in the rave, the minister revealed.
The illegal party, said to have over 2,000 people in attendance, kicked off at a disused warehouse in Lieuron on New Year’s Eve, promptly making headlines. Immediately after receiving reports of the gathering, the local gendarmerie force tried to disperse the party, but was met with extreme hostility from the revelers.
Some of the party-goers pelted officers with rocks and bottles, and even torched a police car. Law enforcement had to retreat and established a security cordon around the area to prevent more people from joining the event. The party appeared to be well-organized and had attracted people from other departments of France, as well as from abroad.
Despite the heavy presence of land police units – and even aerial support – the partygoers continued to celebrate the New Year for around a day ‘under siege.’ An investigation to find and charge those behind the rave, as well as those responsible for violence, has already been launched.
Large-scale mass gatherings remain off-limits in France due to enduring anti-coronavirus restrictions, while citizens have been encouraged to not celebrate the New Year in public at all. Violation of anti-coronavirus restrictions can attract a fine as large as €135.
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