Partying, a political issue in times of Covid-19

Analysis. “Totally irresponsible behavior”, who “Shame our country”, of “Thugs”… 1er January, several politicians were indignant: a free-party bringing together nearly 2,500 people took place in a hangar in Lieuron (Ille-et-Vilaine), braving the curfew in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Filmed live by television cameras, the party became a state affair. Crisis meetings at the Ministry of the Interior, gendarmerie reinforcements, seizures of equipment, Gérald Darmanin live-Tweet… The government wanted to make an example of these offenders. The party, which was to last all weekend, finally ended on Saturday morning, after 1,645 verbalizations, including 1,225 for non-compliance with barrier gestures.

Read also The wild party near Rennes is over, more than 1,600 verbalizations made

Four people were indicted, in particular for endangering the life of others. Among them, a 22-year-old man, suspected of being the organizer of the illegal gathering but without a criminal record, has been in pre-trial detention since January 4. A first for this kind of business, according to his lawyer. “For the right to culture” and against the “Disproportionate repression”, followers of the free-parties demonstrated, Saturday, January 16, in Paris and in the provinces alongside opponents of the bill on global security.

Lack of alternatives

In view of the health situation, being in a hangar with several thousand was of course unconscious: the risk of contamination was high there, the masks rarely worn. Those who have deprived themselves of Christmas Eve can legitimately question themselves and demand accountability. But it is also for lack of alternatives, insist organizers who have since spoken anonymously, that people have come from all over France to dance by – 2 ° C on New Year’s Eve.

These are not just “Dog punks”, of “Zadists” or some “Delinquents”, as some politicians have wanted to believe: most of them are young and old, often socially integrated, coming together around the same passion, a community.

The free-party world has been built illegally since the 1990s, alongside, and sometimes in opposition to, mainstream electronic music, which has become a major music industry. We reject it “Capitalist logic” through free and self-managed parties, where the beats per minute are much faster and steeper than in nightclubs.

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