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COVID, All The Rave: France Debates The 'Right To Party'

A New Year's Eve 'free party' in Lieuron, France, became a state affair. While politicians are quick to condemn and punish the fête's organizers and attendees, they offer no real solution.

Some 2,500 people had crowded into a hangar in the northwestern town of Lieuron for a 'free rave'
Some 2,500 people had crowded into a hangar in the northwestern town of Lieuron for a "free rave"
Romain Geoffroy

PARIS — "Completely irresponsible behavior" that "embarrasses our country," carried out by "thugs'... on Jan. 1, many politicians expressed their indignation after news broke that some 2,500 people had crowded into a hangar in the northwestern town of Lieuron for a "free rave," in blatant defiance of the nationwide COVID-19 curfew.

The party, which was filmed live by TV cameras, became a state affair. Crisis meetings at the Interior Ministry, police reinforcement, confiscated equipment, live-tweets from the interior minister himself… the government wanted to make an example of these offenders. The party was supposed to last the entire weekend, but ended that Saturday morning after 1,645 fines were handed out, 1,225 of which were for non-compliance with social distancing rules.

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