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An illegal rave that drew more than 2,500 people to a warehouse in western France on New Year’s Eve and continued into the weekend was busted by police Saturday in violation of coronavirus restrictions.
Police in Lieuron, about 24 miles south of Rennes, arrested at least seven people – including two who organized the rave inside a hangar that lasted more than 36 hours.
Attendees reportedly clashed with officers as they tried to end the event on Saturday morning.
People dance during a party near a disused hangar in Lieuron about 40km (around 24 miles) on south of Rennes, on January 1, 2021. – A wild party that began on December 31 evening in Lieuron, still gathered on January 1 around 2,500 participants " from different departments and from abroad ", according with a press release from the prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images)
Police arrested the organizers on a number of charges after officers found money, illicit drugs and sound equipment. Five additional people were arrested on drug charges.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter that more than 1,200 fines were issued for non-compliance with the coronavirus curfew.
Attendees told authorities that people from Spain and the United Kingdom joined the festivities, according to Al Jazeera.
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Prosecutor Phillipe Astruc said an investigation has been opened for "endangering others’ lives," "deliberate violence" against police and drug-related offenses. Investigators found that organizers requested a financial contribution to take part in the party and that illicit drugs were in plentiful supply, Astruc said.
Attendees reportedly set a police car on fire and injured three officers with projectiles during attempts to shut the event down.
This photo provided Saturday Jan. 2, 2021 by Techno+ Association shows a tent during a rave party in Lieuron, France, as ravers from France and abroad converged on a hangar on Thursday night to party into the New Year. France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin said Saturday Jan. 2, 2021, a judicial investigation has been opened to identify and prosecute organizers of an underground party that drew at least 2,500 people in western France despite a curfew amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Techno+ via AP)
One of the rave's organizers, identified only as "Jo," admitted that "very few had respected social distancing" at the event, according to Sky News.
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People reportedly slept in their cars rather than go home while the rave continued.
The Regional Health Agency of Brittany warned that party-goers had a high risk of spreading the virus and urged participants to self-isolate for a week and get a test in seven days.
France has reported more than 64,000 virus-related deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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