News & Opinion | January 2, 2021 12:55 pm

Illegal New Year’s Party in France Draws 2,500, Lasts 36 Hours

Also in the mix: a police car, which was set on fire

NYE Party
People pose for the photographer during a party in a disused hangar in Lieuron about 40km (around 24 miles) on south of Rennes, on January 1, 2021.
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

As the pandemic continues, so too have reports of events organized in defiance of regulations intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Such events have been held at bars, restaurants and clubs. But all of these have been relatively small affairs compared to a New Year’s Eve party recently held in France, which lasted for 36 hours and drew 2,500 people.

No, that’s no a typo. 2,500 people converged in the small town of Lieuron for a massive dance party. It’s the kind of event that, were it happening any other year, would have seemed perfectly normal. Given the ongoing pandemic, however, the phrases “wildly irresponsible” and “potential superspreader event” both come to mind.

Writing at The Washington Post, Rick Noack has more details about the event. Specifically, he writes that an early attempt by authorities to shut the event down went badly. “When officers tried to move into the warehouses where the party was taking place on Thursday night, several officers suffered minor injuries in clashes with revelers,” Noack notes. “A police car was torched.”

First aid workers had better luck, and were able to distribute hand sanitizer and masks to some attendees. A coronavirus testing site was also set up near the party, with authorities advising attendees to quarantine for 7 days. Whether any of them did so, however, remains to be seen.

According to the article, law enforcement issued 1,200 penalty notices. Some attendees were able to depart without being stopped and fined. It’s an alarming situation for many in the French government, who are understandably concerned about a spike in COVID-19 cases as a result of the event.