dpa/GNA – Illegal parties marking the turn of the year attracted thousands of people in France despite coronavirus restrictions banning such get-togethers, local media reported on Friday.

An event south of the city of Rennes in Brittany was attended by around 2,500 people, the AFP news agency reported, citing authorities in the Ille-et-Vilaine department.

The revellers were reportedly locals as well as people who had travelled from abroad for the party.

Gendarmerie police were called to the scene in Lieuron, AFP said. Disinfectant and masks had been distributed at the event in a bid to minimize the risk of infection.

The public prosecutor has launched an investigation into the incident.

In illegal gatherings in Marseille and Seine-et-Marne, some 300 and 100 people partied into the new year, according to AFP. Those events were broken up by security forces.

Broadcaster Franceinfo also reported that another New Year’s party was planned in Normandy with 190 guests.

At a smaller New Year’s Eve party in the Dordogne region of south-west France, a 27-year-old man died after being shot in the chest, according to AFP. The suspected shooter has been taken into custody, and investigations are ongoing.

The party was themed on the British gangster series “Peaky Blinders,” in which the characters carry firearms. About 20 former schoolmates attended the party, at which several guests came armed, said local broadcaster France Bleu.

Under France’s pandemic rules, the government asked citizens to have no more than six adults meet indoors for New Year.

In addition, a night-time curfew restricts people from leaving their homes without good reason between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am.

At least one illegal party also took place in neighbouring Germany, where a two-household limit currently applies on gatherings.

Police arrested two people early Friday as they tidied up after a rave in a disused bunker in the western city of Cologne, a police spokesman said.

Around 30 people are said to have attended.

They broke into the locked facility to hold the techno party, according to police, who found professional sound equipment as well as drugs at the site.

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