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protester false context COVID-19

Video of French police car being destroyed is from 2016, not 2021

A video showing protesters attacking and destroying a French police car is circulating online with the false claim that it shows protests against COVID-19 restrictions in September 2021. But it’s old footage of protests in Paris against labor reforms and police violence in 2016. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet that includes a video showing people hitting and setting fire to a police car in France. The text in the post says, “Paris protestors are attacking police, smashing their car, hitting them, and even trying to set the car on fire by throwing firecrackers. There is massive civil unrest happening right now in France.” The News Literacy Project added a label that says “OLD FOOTAGE FROM 2016.”
The video in this tweet does not show civil unrest in France in September 2021.
It is footage of protesters attacking and destroying a police car in Paris in May 2016 during a demonstration against labor reform and police violence.
Protesters have been demonstrating against France’s COVID-19 “health pass” requirements for more than two months following their introduction in July.
Health pass protesters have clashed with police and opposition groups, including in recent weeks.

Here is a full copy of the video:

NewsLit takeaway

Videos and photos of protests are commonly presented out of context online, often to try to bolster or minimize a more recent but unrelated demonstration or cause. Be wary of such visuals, especially when shared by accounts with no standards for verification or accuracy. A quick reverse image search — using a still from the video or a video search tool like the InVid Verification Plugin — can help you find the source of videos you’re not sure about.

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