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Friday, 16 August, 2002, 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK
French ravers force police to retreat
As many as 30,000 people are expected at the party
French police have abandoned efforts to prevent angry young ravers reaching a techno party on an Italian mountain after one officer was injured by a flying rock.

The French party-goers were heading for the Teknival rave on the Col de Larche mountain, just inside the Italian border, when they hit a road blockade erected by police.

Clashes broke out on the road which leads to the border, with riot police using teargas to drive back the ravers, who threw rocks and stones at the officers.

After an officer was hit in the head and taken to hospital by helicopter, the prefect of the Alps Haute-Provence region ordered the officers to retreat.

Circumventing the law

The rave was originally to have been held in France, but organisers had to find a new venue after a tough new French anti-rave law came into force at the beginning of May.

Under the law, raves involving more than 250 people must seek approval from the local authorities at least one month in advance or risk having their sound systems confiscated.

Correspondents say such authorisations have proved hard to come by.

To circumvent the new rules, organisers decided to place their systems just 200 metres inside the Italian border, with the party itself taking place on both the French and the Italian side of the border.

French police have no authority to confiscate music systems outside of French territory.

Around 7,000 people have already set up camp at the mountain location, and around 20,000 more are expected to gather over the next few days for the party, which ends on Sunday.

Special medical teams trained in substance abuse are on hand to inform, and if necessary treat, the party-goers.

See also:

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