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Curfew-busting New Year’s partygoers attack French police

People dance during a party in a disused hangar in Lieuron
People dance during a party in a disused hangar in Lieuron on January 1, 2021. A party that began on December 31 drew at least 2,500 people.
(Jean-Francois Monier / AFP/Getty Images)

Ravers at an underground, curfew-busting New Year’s Eve party that drew at least 2,500 people in western France attacked the police sent to shut them down, torching one police vehicle and injuring officers with volleys of bottles and stones, officials said Friday.

Ravers started converging on a hangar in Lieuron, Brittany, on Thursday night to party into the new year, the regional government said Friday. It said police were attacked when they tried to stop ravers from installing their party gear.

On Friday morning, 2,500 ravers from France and abroad were still partying, circled by a reinforced police presence, the regional government said.

Prosecutors are looking at an array of possible criminal charges. The party took place despite France’s 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. nationwide curfew aimed at dissuading public gatherings during the pandemic.

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Partygoers, however, appealed for understanding after months of nightlife-destroying lockdowns and curfews designed to limit coronavirus infections.

A volunteer with an aid group that was distributing masks, antiviral gel and health advice inside the party said ravers needed to let loose. He asserted that partyers were trying to stay safe by not sharing joints or drinks. Their group, Techno +, was advising partygoers to self-isolate for a week and then get tested after attending the rave. The group also claimed that the disused hangar was airy and well-ventilated.

France has reported more than 64,000 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.


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