French Ravers Clash with Police
BBC News – Friday, 25 May, 2001
Copyright: BBC News
A policeman is in a coma in southern France following clashes with protesters demanding the right to hold raves. Six police officers and at least two demonstrators were injured during the clashes in the city of Toulouse on Thursday night. Violence broke out after police tried to break up a crowd of several hundred ravers to make arrests. The ravers were protesting against planned changes to the law which would put raves under threat.
Right to party
Police fired tear gas to break up the crowd in the town’s central square, but clashes continued in side streets. Reinforce-ments were brought in and the situation returned to normal by the end of the night. Ravers across France staged protests on Thursday, which mostly remained peaceful. They created a carnival atmosphere as jugglers, fire-eaters and dance groups took to the streets.
Protesters say that a bill, passed by the French lower house of parliament, would allow the seizure of sound equipment from raves. It would also make it possible to fine organisers who did not register their raves in advance.
Ravers say the proposal is an attack on freedom of expression. “We refuse all arbitrary censorship of our art and all refusals of our choice of lifestyle,” read one slogan. One protest organiser in Lille said there was a musical and cultural current behind raves. “When you go 300km (180 miles) to have a party, it’s not just to get high,” the protester said.