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Over 1,200 punished for attending illegal party in northwest France
From:Xinhua  |  2021-01-03 00:25

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PARIS, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Over 1,200 revelers attending an illegal rave party in northwest France on New Year's Eve were sanctioned for defying anti-coronavirus sanitary rules, the Interior Ministry and local authorities said on Saturday.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter that more than 1,200 party-goers were issued with penalty notices as they left the site, adding that the event's organizers were being identified and would be prosecuted.

Some 800 of these people were sanctioned for non-compliance with the curfew, non-wearing of a mask and illegal participation in a rally, said the prefecture of Brittany on Twitter.

On Thursday evening, nearly 2,500 people, from different regions in France and from abroad, gathered for a musical and dance event at an abandoned warehouse south of Rennes in Brittany, while the country has been under strict night curfew to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The gendarmes -- the police force that oversees smaller towns and rural and suburban areas in France -- intervened to stop the illegal party but many hostile party-goers clashed with gendarmes and some stayed on the site until Friday morning, said the prefecture.

An investigation was opened on the unlawful organization of this festive gathering, it added.

The local health authorities urged all the participants of this party to isolate themselves strictly for seven days.

With no improvement in epidemic indicators in past weeks, the French government has decided to bring forward the curfew in 15 regions by two hours from this Saturday.

"If the situation were to deteriorate further in certain territories, we will take the necessary decisions," warned government spokesman Gabriel Attal on TV channel TFI on Friday.

On Friday, the French health ministry reported 19,348 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, raising the cumulative total of cases to 2,639,773 since the start of the epidemic. The death toll went up by 133 to 64,765.

In his New Year address to the nation, President Emmanuel Macron said "the first months of the year will be difficult" with an epidemic that will weigh "at least until spring."

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in France and some other countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 232 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 60 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Dec. 29. Enditem