More Than 3,500 Smurfs Came Together in France Before Mass Gatherings Were Banned

Coronavirus or not—they were going to break a world record.

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More than 3,500 French people dressed up as Smurfs gathered in northwestern France on Saturday to break a world record—a day before the French government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

The government passed the ban amid concern for the growing number of coronavirus infections. Since France first reported its first novel coronavirus case in late January, it has confirmed more than 1,700 cases—which is the second largest outbreak in Europe behind Italy.

In spite of the risk, the Smurfs, or “Schtroumpfs” in French, were determined to make their record-breaking congregation happen before the ban took place. Prior to their inadvisable gathering, the previous world record for most people dressed as Smurfs was set in Germany in 2019 with 2,762 people.

“We figured we wouldn’t worry, and that as French people we wouldn’t give up on our attempt to break the record,” one painted participant said in an AFP video of the event, “and now we’re champions of the world.”

France isn’t the only European country to pass preventative measures because of the virus. Yesterday, Italy’s government announced a nationwide lockdown. The “I Stay Home” decree mandates that people only leave home for essential work or medical reasons.