Protest planned after man attacked at French festival dies

He was beaten after confronting three men urinating outside his home during Bayonne festival

The festival sees more than a million people descend onto the city, celebrating its Basque culture
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A protest is planned today (August 4) evening after a local man attacked during a festival in south-west France died from his injuries.

Patrice was beaten on the first day (July 26) of Fêtes de Bayonne, a cultural extravaganza celebrating the city’s Basque roots. It happened after he confronted three men urinating outside his house.

Bayonne’s public prosecutor announced Patrice’s death on Thursday (August 3) after the 46-year-old had spent more than a week in a coma.

Crowds are expected to gather outside Bayonne town hall on Friday afternoon to hold a minute’s silence for Patrice and call for justice.

After asking the trio to stop urinating, he was attacked and hit on the head, which caused a haemorrhage.

The men fled the scene and remain on the run.

Police have released an artificial intelligence portrait of one of the attackers. Officers believe all three had short brown hair, were between 1.80m and 1.85m in height, with slim or athletic builds.

At the time of the attack, the men were shirtless and wearing white or red shorts.

Anyone with information can contact the police anonymously on 05 57 85 77 00.

Read also: Father dies after freak fun park accident with daughter, 4, in France

Complaints double

The attack was not the only issue to worry organisers of the July 26-30 festival.

Police received 920 complaints - double the number of last year - during the event, which is France’s largest festival and combines musical and street performances, dance, parades and firework displays.

Four people came forward to say they were raped during the festival, including in public locations and private apartments.

Investigations into the four accusations of rape – alongside the murder of Patrice – have been opened by Bayonne’s prosecutor.

Even though the number of complaints doubled, fewer people were arrested by police this year (28) than 2022 (36).

Covid spike

Despite only having a population of less than 50,000, the town attracted 1.3 million people during the festival.

Alongside the increased counts of criminal activity, the influx has led to a spike in Covid cases.

Pharmacies are filling all available appointment slots for tests of the disease, and self-testing kits are flying off shelves at pharmacies.

“On Doctolib, all appointment slots for tests are taken… Families have come together [to be tested],” said one pharmacist.

“For ages, there were no more cases and now we’ve had the festival… it's exploding,” she added.

The Connexion contacted the festival organisers to respond to this article but they have so far declined to comment.

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