Partying youths defy Paris police for third night running

People standing in a street near Les Invalides in Paris, past the 11pm Covid-19 curfew, on Saturday.
People standing in a street near Les Invalides in Paris, past the 11pm Covid-19 curfew, on Saturday.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Paris police said on Sunday (June 13) that three people were detained after officers used tear gas to disperse hundreds of youths gathered for a street party in defiance of Covid-19 social distancing limits and an 11pm curfew.

The so-called Project X gathering, a reference to an American film from 2012, on the vast lawns in front of the Army Museum at Les Invalides on Saturday was the third since last Thursday.

Videos on social media show largely maskless youths surrounding a car before climbing and jumping on its roof, while others bombarded police vans with bottles.

Other parties were broken up in the Tuileries gardens near the Louvre and on the banks of the Seine river, the police said, as people enjoying warm evenings outside found it difficult to respect the coronavirus curfew.

Many bars across the city remained open after 11pm over the weekend, the first since the curfew was pushed back from 9pm last Wednesday, according to Agence France-Presse reporters.

"We had our bac this year and we really needed to let loose," said Cedric, 17, who came with friends from the nearby 15th district of the capital, referring to the baccalaureat or secondary school exit exam.

Officials have urged people to continue respecting social distancing limits as the country emerges from its third Covid-19 lockdown.

From last Wednesday, bars and restaurants are allowed to serve patrons indoors for the first time since October, and the government plans to drop the nationwide curfew entirely on June 30.

The health authorities reported 3,972 new cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday, while the number of patients in intensive care fell to 2,110, far below the peak of nearly 6,000 during the third wave of cases that began in March.

Thirty-four deaths were reported, bringing the French total to 110,407.