December 11, 2005

All-night protest after French rave party banned

PARIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of French youths smashed shop
windows, ignited trash cans and pelted police with bottles
through the night to protest against a ban on a rave party they
planned in the western city of Rennes, officials said on

Two police were injured and about 30 youths were detained
during the unrest, which began mid-afternoon on Saturday as
protesters chanting "freedom!" and "we want a field!" marched
through the capital of the Brittany region.

Police in full riot gear fired tear gas to disperse the
crowds but the protesters, many of whom police said were drunk,
stayed on until the early morning.

Bernadette Malgorn, the local prefect in charge of public
security, said she banned the all-night dance party because
organizers could not say how many people would turn up at a
field outside the city of about 200,000.

"They were incapable of saying how many sound systems there
would be, whether there would be 10 or 30, which would mean
there would be 10,000 or 30,000 people there," she said.

"If we had 30,000 ravers converging on Rennes, I could not
handle such a situation," she told Europe 1 radio.

Rennes Mayor Edmond Herve, who had given permission for
ravers to use a field, criticized Malgorn -- a civil servant
appointed by Paris -- for overruling him last week.

"The ban on the rave party was a mistake and we've suffered
the consequences," he told journalists.

Rennes, a provincial university town, went through similar
unrest last year when a rave party was also called off shortly
before it was due to take place.