LAW ENFORCEMENT

Paris police break up huge 'Project X' party at Invalides

A police vehicle patrols near Les Invalides in Paris late on June 11, 2021, after people gathered nearby for an unauthorised outdoor party.
A police vehicle patrols near Les Invalides in Paris late on June 11, 2021, after people gathered nearby for an unauthorised outdoor party. AFP - GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT

Police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of people – mostly minors – who gathered on Friday night for a giant party on the Esplanade des Invalides, in central Paris. Meanwhile, 10 km to the west, tennis fans were granted a curfew reprieve to watch the end of the French Open semi-final.

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Images published on social media showed crowds of teenagers singing, dancing and drinking without wearing face masks – as required by French law.

The revellers had been responding to call put out on social media to hold an impromptu “Project X" party, named after the American film in which teenagers throw a party that spirals out of control.

"As soon you hear 'Project X', everyone gets excited,” Gaspard, a 17-year-old who attended the party told AFP. 

“We danced, and did pogos (jumping in all directions)… There were hundreds and hundreds of people. We must have been at least 1,000 or 1,500.”

Another partygoer, Emma, added: “The lawns were full. It had been a long time since we had a party because of the Covid and we really needed it.”

Police intervened when the party went beyond 11pm, in violation of a nationwide curfew to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Tennis waiver

Meanwhile a few kilometres west of Les Invalides, at the French Open tennis tournament, the curfew was waived for fans watching Friday night’s semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Around 20 minutes before the 11pm deadline, Roland Garros authorities announced that spectators would be allowed to remain throughout the duration of the fiercely contested match, which was eventually won by Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Tournament organisers said the decision was made as a result of the “completely exceptional circumstances”.

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