Up to 1200 unauthorized rave participants camp out in Ardeche region of France as doctors and authorities keep careful watch
An outdoor rave has taken over a cliff in Montpezat-sous-Bauzon in France’s Ardeche region, after having been turned away from its originally planned site in Auvergne. Between 400 and 1,200 people are reported to be present. Local authorites have done fly-over surveillance of the area and so far, no incidents of note have been reported. Police have cordoned off access to the site to new vehicles, but admit that some ravers continue to by coming through the woods.
A spokesperson for Médecins du Monde (doctors of the World), a non-profit medical organization in France, said that his group had been in place since Thursday and so far had only treated minor injuries, alcohol-related conditions and exposure among rave participants. The French medical organization was refused access to the unauthorized rave at first, but eventually was given permission to remain on site.
The rave has thus far been somewhat contained by French authorities both in size and in its activities. About 150 vehicles belonging to ravers are reported to be on the site, but so are 400 French gendarmes. The decibel level is also much lower than it might have been, as six trucks carrying sound equipment for the event were seized during the aborted attempt to launch the rave in Auvergne. Around 60 members of Médecins du Monde are also present, having set up a temporary facility to treat rave participants.
Raves in France have been the scene not only of drug and alcohol use in recent years — particularly the drug MDMA or Ecstasy — but also of health emergencies and tragic deaths, so French police and local authorities are on the alert for safety concerns. The non-profit organization Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) have run a program targeting safety problems associated with raves in France since 1997. The program, called Rave Mission, does not seek to stop or discourage raves but to be present on site at raves with first aid, supplies and emergency services should they be necessary. Rave Mission has been controversial as it not only provides care and anti-drug messages but also hands out bottled water and condoms to ravers.
Some areas of France, such as Auvergne, ban raves, but Médecins du Monde says on their website that the practice of banning raves “forces participants into clandestine behaviour with all the related risks: poor security conditions, no medical support, nobody present from associations or institutions to provide prevention messages.” Médecins du Monde insists their efforts during raves in France are all in the interest of public health and safety in France.
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