Man’s hand blown off in violent clashes at illegal rave party in western France

A man’s hand was blown off as hundreds of police raided an illegal rave in western France, officials said.

About 1,500 people were at the rave at a horse racing track near the town of Redon.

There were “very violent clashes” lasting seven hours after police intervened, the local prefect said. Five police officers were injured during the clashes.

Authorities and partygoers blamed each other for the violence.

The event was organised on social media and local authorities banned it from going ahead.

Prefect Emmanuel Berthier said people attending the rave “had an objective, to confront the forces of order” and accused them of throwing petrol bombs, large metal balls of the type used in the French game of boules and breezeblocks at officers.

Event organisers said the police had chosen to fire tear gas rather than negotiate with them.

“Tear gas and stun grenades rained on the crowd who only wanted to party,” one organiser told AFP.

A 22-year-old man lost his hand in the violence, prosecutors in Rennes said. An investigation was under way to determine the cause of his injury.

There were five arrests, police said.

The rave was held in memory of Steve Maia Caniço, a 24-year-old man who drowned in the Loire river in Nantes in 2019 after police raided a concert during a music festival.

His body was found more than a month later. Protesters in Nantes say the police intervention then was disproportionate.