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Several hurt as French police break up mass rave

Eleven police officers were injured in the early hours of Saturday morning in western France, as they broke up a 1,500-strong illegal rave, authorities said, with one party-goer losing a hand in the clashes.

Several hurt as French police break up mass rave
Police break up an illegal rave in France. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

Police fired teargas to disperse the crowd, who defied an 11pm coronavirus curfew on Friday June 18th and just stayed on into Saturday afternoon in the area around a racecourse near Redon in Brittany.

There were “very violent clashes” when 400 police intervened, prefect Emmanuel Berthier said, adding the violence lasted more than seven hours through the night.

“The rave party at Redon has ended,” he announced after police had cleared the area.

Police detained five men and opened an inquiry into violence against people in positions of public authority.

According to the authorities, 11 police officers were injured, two of whom were taken to hospital. Two of the ravers were also hurt, including a 22-year-old man who lost a hand.

Berthier said the “people had an objective, to confront the forces of public order”.

Firebombs, metal balls, breeze blocks

Berthier told AFP that the group threw “Molotov cocktails, metal balls and bits of breeze blocks”.

A police officer said it was not usual for people to bring the metal balls used in the French sport of boules or petanque to a rave.

Event organisers said police had chosen violence instead of dialogue by firing tear gas grenades.

“It was war,” said Flo, a 22-year-old man who attended the event. “There hasn’t been any music since last night,” but “people taking part in the illegal rave are still on the scene,” the prefect’s office had told AFP early Saturday.

Local authorities had on Friday banned the party, which came two days before the coronavirus curfew is set to be lifted on Sunday, June 20th as Covid-19 case numbers fall in France.

The rave had originally been set up in memory of a young man killed in nearby city Nantes two years ago during the annual nationwide Fête de la Musique celebration.

Prosecutors said Friday that Steve Maia Canico fell into the Loire river when police moved in to break up the gathering.

His body was found more than a month later and protesters in Nantes have demanded “Justice for Steve”, saying the police intervention was disproportionate.

Hundreds of people flouted France’s coronavirus curfew with underground parties near Dijon and a village in western Brittany, while police managed to prevent organisers from staging a major rave in Paris.

READ ALSO: Mini concerts in bars and no curfew: What’s changed for France’s Fête de la Musique this year?

Member comments

  1. A rather over the top response to a few miscreants that were looking for trouble. In a situation like this, diplomacy is often the best policy especially when dealing with the young hyped up ravers.

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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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