French police have shut down an illegal rave party in northwestern France that had been underway since New Year’s Eve in defiance of a curfew and coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings.
Five people have been arrested and more than 1,000 fines issued after the illegal rave in the French countryside ended on Saturday, local authorities said.
More than 2,500 partygoers attended the party in the region of Brittany, despite the government’s strict coronavirus restrictions and a national night-time curfew. Some clashed with police soon after the party kicked off on Thursday evening.
The clashes prompted police to wait for reinforcements to be deployed before moving in to put an end to the party, Emmanuel Berthier, head of the Ille-et-Vilaine prefecture, told reporters.
About 1,200 fines were issued as of Saturday morning following the rave, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said via his official Twitter profile.
Trucks, sound systems and generators have been seized and Gendarmes officers “are continuing their investigation and checks so that this illegal event is harshly sanctioned,” Darmanin added.
Of the 1,200 fines, 800 were related to coronavirus restrictions and 400 to drug offenses, head of the Bretagne Gendarmerie Forces, General Pierre Sauvegrain told reporters.
Up to 20 vehicles, including trucks which may be carrying sound equipment, managed to escape the police block by driving on a lane which led to the highway, Sauvegrain said.
“There is a judicial investigation which will allow us to identify the main perpetrators and to arrest them,” he added.
Local police attempted to shut down the rave on Thursday, but said they “faced violent hostility,” with a police vehicle set on fire, other vehicles damaged, and soldiers sprayed with bottles and stones, which caused minor injuries.
“No new violence” occurred since then, a Gendarmerie Nationale spokesperson said on Saturday, adding that partygoers were “leaving the premises voluntarily.”
Local authorities said the number of partygoers was “estimated at 2,500, coming from different French departments and from abroad.”
A national curfew from 8pm to 6am has been in place since December 15.