- BBC World News
About 2,500 people broke coronavirus restrictions by participating in an illegal year-end party held at an industrial warehouse in northwestern France, until police arrived to end the event.
Some of those attending the celebration that took place in Neuron, a town near Rennes, the regional capital, planned to continue the party until Tuesday.
The organizers of the event were identified by the police, who also imposed fines on the participants as they left the scene.
Some of those attending the massive celebration came from other countries such as Spain and the United Kingdom.
Several revelers clashed with officials, throwing objects at them, and they set fire to a car; at least three police officers were injured.
A person was arrested carrying a record player, speakers and a power generator in the trunk of his vehicle, according to the French television station. BFM TV.
A statement from local authorities details that the police faced “fierce hostility from many attendees.”
According to the local prefecture, it was not until 5:30 a.m. on Saturday (local time) that the attendees they began to accept that the party hadI was finished and they decided to abandon the two disused warehouses that served them to celebrate the New Year.
Interior Minister GéraldArmanin reported through a tweet that the police seized trucks, sound equipment and power generators at the scene, and that they were investigating the events.
More than 1,200 fines were issued for not complying with the curfew, not wearing a mask and for attend an illegal gatheringDarmanin indicated.
On Friday, authorities reported that they had opened a sanitary cordon around the party and urged everyone who attended the event to remain in isolation for seven days.
One of the participants, who identified himself as Jo, told the AFP agency that “very few had respected social distancing” during the duration of the event.
And according to the newspaper The world, several people slept in their cars to dance again.
Veryy well organized”
An attendee interviewed by the newspaper said the party was “very well organized” and that there were even food stalls inside.
Another, who traveled to the event with four friends, said he had wanted to “escape” for hours.
On Friday the Ministry of the Interior organized an emergency meeting and later all vehicle exits of the party were blocked while the police tried to control the situation.
France introduced fairly strict rules in mid-December to slow the advance of the coronavirus, including a curfew that runs from 8pm until 6am.
More than 100,000 police officers were deployed across the country to enforce the curfew and break up the festivities.
The French police are ordered to stop clandestine parties as soon as they receive a complaint, and they are also tasked with fining their participants and identifying the organizers.
France has been one of the European countries most affected by the pandemic, registering more than 2.600.000 covid-19 cases and at least 64,892 deaths.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.