France cracks down on Facebook gatherings after reveller dies

Drinkers in Nantes, 12 May 2010. Photo posted on Flickr by "viewti-vlad".

Enjoying an aperitif with friends is almost mandatory in France. But just how many friends? The latest craze is to get together with hundreds of strangers in an open space. And it's no longer a case of one pre-dinner drink. Prearranged by anonymous organisers on social networking sites, particularly Facebook, the booze-fuelled events are becoming increasingly popular in traditionally refined France. That is, until a young reveller died at one on Wednesday.

In the north-western city of Nantes on Wednesday evening, some 9,000 people gathered in the main square after having been invited on Facebook to an "apéro géant", or "massive aperitif". Late into the evening, a 21-year-old man fell off a bridge and landed on his head. He died of his injuries the next day.

The incident has increased the concerns of police and local authorities, who are unable to restrict something that is, for the time being, perfectly legal. Their biggest gripe is that with no apparent organiser, the authorities are unable to hold anyone accountable for any accidents or to pay for the clean up.


An "apéritif géant" in action

In Nantes. Video posted on Dailymotion by pitijaoel.

“Facebook group administrators shouldn’t be held responsible”

The Facebook group "Apéro géant au Mans" is an invitation to a giant aperitif in the centre-west city of Le Mans on 15 May, open to anyone and everyone. The group was set up a week ago and already has 4,000 members. Alexandre, 19, is the creator of the group.

I'm not surprised by the group's success - people like meeting other people and they like having fun. It's an attractive offer.

But the local authorities don't see it in the same way. They've banned it. According to the council, you need permission to organise such an event in public, because they have to make security arrangements.

The police see me as the event organiser because I created the Facebook group. They came round to my parents' house, but I don't live there anymore. So they tried to call me, but I didn't answer. Eventually they turned up at my home to hand over a court summons. The mayor's office also called me for a meeting, but I didn't go.

I told everyone through the Facebook group page that the event was cancelled, explaining that I could end up in court for it. But now I'm letting them get on with it, there's no way it can be cancelled now; everyone's going. I'm sure it will be great.

Facebook group administrators shouldn't be held responsible for this kind of thing. Everyone's responsible for their own actions. One person can't look after the entire group! As for the tragedy in Nantes, it's the guy's friends who should be held responsible.

Despite the mayor banning the event here, I'm not discouraged. We live in a free country and I'm sure that everyone's going to start doing this; this kind of gathering will become a daily event. There's nothing the authorities can do, even if they try to put pressure on the groups."

The party...

Clermont Ferrand, central France. Photo posted on Picassa.

Rennes, west France. Posted on Flickr by "Diezer".

Rennes. Posted on Flickr by "Diezer".

Clermont Ferrand. Posted on Picassa.

Rennes. Posted on Flickr by "Diezer".

Rennes. Posted on Flickr by "Diezer".

...and the after party

Rennes. Posted on Flickr by WYZ.

L'esplanade de l'Europe (city unknown) 13 May 2010. Posted on Facebook by Ludovic Cruchot.

Facebook group for a giant apero in Rennes



I'm shocked not at the idea that can be nice if organized properly but at the reaction of the group administrator.

How can you say out loud that you refused to talk to authorities ?

" They came round to my parents' house, but I don't live there anymore. So they tried to call me, but I didn't answer. Eventually they turned up at my home to hand over a court summons. The mayor's office also called me for a meeting, but I didn't go. "

Even if he is "only" one who helped and spread the word, he is still part of it and he is in a way responsible.

Of course we are in a free country and the idea of an apéritif géant is nice, I was even tempted to go the one being organized in Strasbourg ( wondering now if the group admin will have any success getting his file accepted and validated ) Because YES, so people do things correctly and even a "spontaneous" friendly gathering, when it reaches this scale, when it deals with alcohol on a public space HAS TO BE ORGANIZED.

I really dislike the people who think everything is due and they have no responsability to take for their actions. So they think they can gather on a public space, drink, dirty the spot and leave because " I'm not the one who organized it, I was just a guest " ???

Sadly, someone died and this, instead of opening their eyes " we should have told the prefecture, the major and the police that we were gathering there, just so that there would be firemen, ambulances, police and all the security means to make sure that it would still be a party and not turn out into a drama " , it makes them think " we are not free anymore, it's nto my fault if one died, his friends should have watched over him, better still, he was responsible for himself, let's not mourn, he died of his stupidity " - It's just too easy and makes me sick...

This Alexander T. should be ashamed.

Let them party now,for

Let them party now,for tomorrow they must pay for the Greeks.


Western govts are sick,its messengers IE broadcasters and media,are just as sick,AS it says in Luke "Physican heal thyself".society will follow suit.

An encouragement from the New Testamount

Strange comment from a Christian. Was not Jesus given to having large unauthorised gatherings (eg: feeding the 5000)?

Also, I believe Luke was talking about a physician not society as a whole - you fundamental Christians are a scream the way you extrapolate nonsense from the shortest phrase!

Western governments, messengers, broadcasters and media are not "sick", merely human; and was not one of Jesus' main themes one of forgiveness?

Hi there, how's the weather

Hi there, how's the weather in Sadr City today?


Actually for a change its sunny in England.