Illegal New Year Rave

Rennes, France, Jan 2 (AFP/APP): Revellers Saturday left an illegal New Year rave in northwestern France that had drawn some 2,500 people, led to clashes with police, and sparked concerns it could spread the coronavirus.

Police had failed to stop the underground event, set up on Thursday in two disused warehouses in Lieuron, south of the city of Rennes in Brittany. Such mass gatherings are banned across France to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and a nationwide 8:00 pm curfew which was not lifted for New Year applies across the country.

Techno music had blared out during the night from the warehouses, which had been transformed into illegal nightclubs for partygoers who had flocked to the site from across France and even abroad. The local prefecture said Saturday the music had been switched off and sound systems dismantled after two nights, and the first revellers began leaving the site before dawn.

By 10:15am the site was under the control of police, who had booked more than 800 people for failing to respect the curfew restrictions or wear masks or for “participating in an illegal assembly”, it said in a statement.

Earlier Saturday, the prefecture said only “a few hundred” of the estimated 2,500 revellers remained, quoting an association that oversees the prevention and security risks of such events. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted that the large police presence at the site had led to the breakup of the rave “without violence”.

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