Sunday, January 03, 2021
Thousands celebrated for days
Suspected party organizers arrested
After the attempt to break up the illegal party failed due to the violent resistance of the guests, the police first watched as thousands celebrated for almost two days against all Corona rules. But now at least the organizers face severe penalties.
After the multi-day, illegal New Year’s Eve party in Brittany with more than 2,000 participants, the gendarmes issued more than 1,600 criminal charges and paid warnings, including 225 for drug offenses and 1,225 for violating the Corona requirements. This was announced by France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. During the search for the organizers of the rave, two suspects were arrested, according to prosecutors. In addition, a sum of money – presumably the entrance fee – an extensive music system, lighting system and generators were secured.
While most party attendees get away with paying a fine of 135 euros for violating the strict contact and exit restrictions in France, the organizers face severe fines. According to French media reports, they could be sentenced to fines of up to 600,000 euros and several years in prison. The two suspects arrested are said to be two young men from the village where the party took place.
Regardless of the strict Corona requirements, around 2500 young people in France celebrated a day and a half illegal New Year’s Eve party. Participants came from all over France as well as Spain and Italy. The police only managed to bring the situation in the Breton town of Lieuron under control on Saturday morning. Police officers had previously been violently attacked and evicted while trying to end the celebration.
“Very high risk”
The police had initially tried to break up the party in two empty warehouses on New Year’s Eve, but were confronted with “violent hostility” according to the prefecture. According to the police, one police vehicle was set on fire and three others were damaged during riots. There were bottles and stones thrown, officials were slightly injured. The emergency services then withdrew. The celebration only broke up on Saturday morning.
In view of the violations of the regulations on minimum distance and wearing masks, the Brittany health authority warned that the celebrants had a “very high risk” of corona infection and should immediately go into domestic isolation. The prefecture set up a corona rapid test center in Lieuron. “We haven’t been able to do anything for a year,” said Antoine, 24, who attended the party with four friends. “At some point you say, ‘I’m going to force my New Year’s party now,'” said 22-year-old baker Alexis.
A further massive increase in corona infections is feared in France. On Friday, the number of new infections within 24 hours was again around 20,000. In total, almost 64,800 people have died from or with the virus in France since the pandemic began; more than 2.6 million people have become infected. To contain the coronavirus, a nightly curfew has been in effect in particularly affected areas since Saturday from 6 p.m., in all other regions no one is allowed out of the house from 8 p.m.