French mayor defends Smurf rally after outcry over virus

The mayor of a small French town on Tuesday defended hosting a record-breaking gathering of 3,500 people dressed as Smurfs at the weekend, after accusations that the event increased the risks of spreading the coronavirus. "We must not stop living... it was the chance to say that we are alive," mayor Patrick Leclerc of Landerneau in western France told AFP. The gathering came a day before France banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, which has infected 1,412 people and killed 25 in the country.