An illegal rave in France’s Lozère region that drew nearly 10,000 people was shut down by police over the weekend.The illegal event began on the night of Saturday August 8 and took place on an isolated mountainous plateau in the Cévennes National Park, with authorities saying no social distancing or security measures had been put in place.
Local authorities were reportedly overwhelmed by the number of people drawn to the area and initially locked the event down and prevented anyone from entering or leaving while assessing the health risks and the potential spread of COVID-19.
Officials also said many revelers were too intoxicated to leave the site safely in vehicles, and fines for public intoxication and drug use were imposed.
Lozère is the least populated region in France and has so far been spared the worst coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in more than 30,000 deaths across the country.
Locals have expressed fury at the many people descending into the area to party illegally, and farmers are also angry at the damage to pastures and fields overgrown by revelers.
“The Lozères take Covid very seriously, they have respected the distancing measures and this massive influx of people who flout all the rules has deeply shocked them,” said Valérie Hatsch, prefect of the region.
France currently has a ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people.