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Organisers sought after 10,000 attend illegal rave

Police are searching for the organisers of an illegal rave that drew thousands of partygoers to a national park in central France last weekend.

Up to 10,000 people are believed to have attended the festival, held on the edge of the Cévennes National Park, in the département of Lozère, from Saturday 8 August. According to local media, officers of the Mobile Gendarmery were sent in to lock down the gathering on Sunday (9 August) afternoon.

Events of more than 5,000 attendees are banned in France until at least 30 August. Further implicating organisers, the event was held in a protected area (the park is a Unesco world heritage site), while photos captured by the AFP news agency show unmasked attendees failing to observe social distancing.

According to Midi Libre, the party finally came to a close yesterday (12 August) afternoon, with police impounding sound equipment, generators, a trailer and a 3.5-tonne van.

“This massive influx of people who flout all the rules has shocked us profoundly”

Gendarmes had previously been guarding the festival site, preventing vehicles from leaving, to prevent the spread of Covid-19, local authorities tell AFP.

Valerie Hatsch, state representative (prefect) for Lozère, says locals were outraged by the influx of revellers into the region, which has escaped the worst of the coronavirus crisis. “People from Lozère take Covid very seriously,” she said on Sunday. “They have respected the social distancing measures and this massive influx of people who flout all the rules has shocked them profoundly.”

There has been increasing concern in France about illegal outdoor parties during the hot summer season, according to The Local.

In the UK, illegal raves have also been on the increase, with illicit parties in Waltham Forest, the Forest of Dean and Harborough, Leicestershire, among the latest to have sparked anxiety among local authorities.


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