Five police officers were injured overnight in western France as they broke up a 1,500-strong illegal rave, authorities said Saturday, with one raver losing a hand in the clashes.
Police fired teargas to disperse the crowd, who defied an 11:00 pm coronavirus curfew on Friday and just stayed on into Saturday afternoon at a race course near Redon in Brittany.
There were “very violent clashes” when 400 police intervened, local prefect Emmanuel Berthier said, adding the violence lasted more than seven hours through the night.
“An evacuation operation is underway at the site,” the prefecture tweeted later.
Tear gas and charged clusters were fired at those in attendance, who retaliated by throwing rocks, metal balls and molotov cocktails at the police, injuring five. Over 400 officers were reported to have been deployed to shut down the event, which was estimated to have 1,500 people in attendance.
Two of the ravers were injured, including a 22-year-old man who lost a hand, local authorities said.
The rave was paying tribute to Steve Maia Caniço, who died after falling into the Loire river after the police raided a techno concert in Western France in June, 2019, as Mixmag reports.
Many have criticised the police after his death due to their violent approach.
Raver called for “Justice for Steve” after his body was found over a month later.
Five men have been arrested, and an inquiry has been opened into the clash, which the police believe to be intentional – with one noting that balls used for the sport of Boules being brought to a rave was suspicious.
Emmanuel Berthier, a local official, claimed that the partygoers “had an objective, to confront the forces of public order”.