Old video from Belgium shared as footage of recent farmers' protest in France

By: Ishita Goel
February 6 2024

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Old video from Belgium shared as footage of recent farmers' protest in France

Social media posts claim that the video shows French farmers protesting in 2024. (Source: Facebook/YouTube/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video is from 2015 and shows farmers in Brussels protesting against falling prices and high taxes on produce.

Claim ID 1a7c1478

What is the claim?

During the farmers' protest in France, a low-resolution video showing a truck pushing an armored van, surrounded by police personnel, has gone viral. Later in the footage, the truck appears to spray a substance at the police officers present.

Visuals from this video have been circulating on Facebook and X (archived here), accompanied by captions claiming the footage depicts French farmers resisting "Macron's thugs" and seeking support for their cause.

Screenshots of the viral posts on social media. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

Recently, France has witnessed protests from disgruntled farmers who argue they are underpaid for their produce, burdened by high taxes, and undercut by cheap produce imports. On February 1, 2024, Reuters reported that protestors threw eggs and stones at the European Parliament and launched fireworks, calling on European Union leaders for solutions. The farmers have also used tractors to blockade major access roads into Paris and other key national highways. Following promises from Prime Minister Gabriel Attal to address their grievances, two leading farming unions halted the protests on February 1.

The protests, originating in France, have spread to Brussels, where, on February 1, approximately 1,300 tractors blocked streets. Similar demonstrations have occurred in Italy and the Netherlands.

However, our investigation reveals the viral video is not related to the current farmers' protests in France.

What are the facts?

A reverse image search showed that the visuals date back to 2015.

Spanish news outlet elDiario.es released a more extended version of the video on its YouTube channel on September 7, 2015, with a caption in Spanish that translates to "Clashes in Brussels between police and ranchers." The video description mentions a "milk war," with producers demanding higher milk prices and promotional support, and notes the Brussels protests ended with riot police intervention. A scene at the 0:01 mark of the viral video, showing a tractor pushing the van, matches the 0:22 timestamp in elDiario.es's footage.

Similarly, The Associated Press published a segment of the viral video's second part on September 9, 2015, titled "Raw: Belgian Farmers Protest Low Milk Prices," which shows farmers spraying straw at police during a Brussels demonstration demanding EU measures against falling prices. We can see that the visuals at the 0:09 mark of the viral video are similar to those of the tractor spraying the police at the 0:32 mark of the AP video. 

Comparison of the viral video and the video by Associated Press. (Source: YouTube/X/ Modified by Logically Facts)

We can confirm that the events took place in Belgium by comparing the viral footage to elDiario.es and AP's videos. Additional evidence allowed us to geolocate the scene to the vicinity of the Aloft Hotel on Rue Belliard, Brussels, aided by a phone number (02 280 30 34) visible on a sign in the elDiario.es video. We found the exact location of the clip showing the two trucks pushing back the armored van on Google Maps.

Geolocating the video with the help of the video by the elDiario.es. (Source: YouTube/Google Maps/ Modified by Logically Facts)

Moreover, the European Commission building is visible at the 1:37 mark in the AP video. This building matches a September 2016 Google Maps street view.

Geolocating the location seen in the viral clip with the help of the AP video. (Source: YouTube/Google Maps/ Modified by Logically Facts)

The 2015 protest in Belgium

The Guardian reported on September 7, 2015, that the Brussels protests saw approximately "4,800 farmers – with 70 from Britain – and 1,450 tractors that blockaded streets while some protesters pelted the police with eggs and sprayed milk and hay at them."

Deutsche Welle (DW) reported in 2015 that farmers moved to the Belgian capital to protest against high taxes and plunging food prices. They added that the farmers, mainly from Germany, France, and Belgium, "were demanding more direct aid from their governments to pay the bills, with others also pushing for a reintroduction of quotas."

The verdict

A 2015 video showing farmers in Brussels protesting against falling prices and high taxes on produce has been shared with the false claim that it shows the recent farmers' protest in France. Thus, we have marked this claim as false.

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