Old video of COVID-19 protests in Brussels linked to riots in France

By: Ankita Kulkarni
July 5 2023

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Old video of COVID-19 protests in Brussels linked to riots in France


The Verdict False

The video is from 2022, showing people protesting in Brussels, Belgium, against the COVID-19 restrictions and the country’s health pass.

Claim ID ea7438b5


A video circulating on social media claims that Belgium is protesting in support of France after widespread civil unrest in the country following the killing of a teenage boy by a police officer in a Paris suburb. The 2:20-minute video shows violent clashes between police and the public. People can be seen throwing barricades at police near a subway entrance, vandalizing public buildings, smashing glass doors, and police firing water cannons in response. The caption, translated from Arabic, reads, “The French Revolution continues its march to Belgium. We demand that corrupt Western governments guarantee freedom of expression.” The video has gained over 14,000 views on Twitter. 

However, the video is old and has no links to the recent protests in France. 

In Fact

We could see that the video is dated “23 GENNAIO 2022,” which is January 23, 2022. As the video progresses, we can see that it was produced by an Italian media house named Local Team. Its logo can be seen at the top right corner of the viral video. 

We searched for the video on its YouTube channel and found the original video uploaded on January 23, 2022. The caption notes, “Demonstration against the Vaccinal Pass, violent clashes in Brussels: urban warfare (translated from Italian).” The description states the footage was taken during the protests in Brussels when the headquarters of the European Union EEAS (European External Action Service) was attacked and vandalized. The demonstrations also included demonstrators joining from France and Germany. It also added that due to the intense clashes, some policemen had to shelter at the entrance of a subway station to escape from the demonstrators. The visuals of police officers at the subway staircase can be seen in the viral video.  

A YouTube video posted by the Guardian News on January 24, 2022, also included similar visuals and stated, “Violent clashes broke out between police and people protesting against COVID-19 restrictions in Brussels.”

The same video was posted by a France-based independent freelance journalist, Clément Lanot, on January 23, 2022. It was captioned as “URGENT - Lone police officers targeted by projectiles are forced to take refuge in the metro. Tensions. #Bruxelles.”

The video predates the recent unrest in France, and no such clashes in support of France were seen in Belgium in 2023.   

The Verdict

An old video of people protesting against COVID-19 rules in Brussels has been incorrectly shared as Belgians protesting in support of recent riots in France. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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