Coronavirus: the police interrupt the carnival of Marseille | News | DW

Marseille police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of thousands who took part in an unauthorized carnival on Sunday in violation of coronavirus lockdown rules.

The southern port city typically hosts the La Plaine Carnival in March, but last year’s event was canceled due to the outbreak of the global pandemic.

France Bleu Provence, a local radio station, reported that up to 6,500 people attended the rally in the town.

Seven arrests were made after a group threw projectiles at the police.

Carnival has become an anti-lockdown protest

Dozens of fines of € 135 ($ 160.5) were imposed on those who refused to wear face masks.

Romain, a 26-year-old participant, said “young people are tired of being locked up”.

“There are no frail elderly people here, only young people,” he told AFP.

Most revelers refused to wear masks

The mayor of Marseille, Benoit Payan, denounced on social networks “the selfish attitude” of the revelers, calling their behavior “unacceptable”.

“Nothing justifies destroying our collective efforts to contain the virus,” he said.

French law stipulates that the organizers of any demonstration or public gathering must inform local authorities at least three days before its scheduled date.

But officials said they were unaware the anti-lockdown event was about to take place.

Some regions of France face new closure measures

Marseille and its surroundings are not affected by the new stopping restrictions that came into effect on Saturday.

The new lockdown will be in place for at least four weeks in 16 departments, including the Paris region and the neighboring Alpes-Maritimes.

France is one of the European countries expected to be hit hard by a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Public Health France warned on Sunday that intensive care admissions were at their highest level since the end of November, with more than 4,400 COVID-19 patients currently in intensive care.

jf / sri (AFP, dpa)

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