Old video of men with firearms misattributed to recent protests in France

By: Sam Doak
July 7 2023

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Old video of men with firearms misattributed to recent protests in France


The Verdict False

The video was filmed in the French city of Dijon in June 2020, when clashes broke out between rival gangs. It has nothing to do with recent unrest.

Claim ID 2b2491bf


On June 27, a police officer fatally shot 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre. The teenager's death sparked protests across France, which led to widespread public disorder and rioting in numerous towns and cities.

Among the various unrelated videos shared in light of the protests, some clips purportedly showing that protesters had acquired firearms have been circulating on social media. One such video shows a group of men in balaclavas and motorcycle helmets brandishing a range of guns at a camera.

Paul Golding, leader of the British far-right party Britain First was among many individuals to post this video on Twitter recently. His tweet read, "Armed rioters show off their arsenal of weapons in France. #FranceRiots #FranceHasFallen #FranceOnFire.” Golding's tweet was widely shared, garnering over 2,600 retweets and 4,600 likes at the time of publishing. However, Logically Facts found that the video was not filmed during the recent unrest in France. 

In Fact

A reverse image search reveals that the viral video was posted on Twitter on June 15, 2020, years before the recent protests in France erupted. According to the post caption, the video was shot in the French city of Dijon, where armed members fired pistols and rifles in the air scaring civilians. 

The same video was also included in Indian news channel WION's coverage of the unrest in Dijon allegedly involving members of the local Chechen community. A report by Sky News published on June 16, 2020, provides further context, stating, "Police reinforcements have been sent into the French city of Dijon after a fourth night of clashes between rival gangs. Youths set fire to vehicles and bins overnight to avenge an alleged attack on a 16-year-old Chechen by drug dealers last week, according to local media reports."

Addressing the viral clip, which has been misattributed to the recent unrest in France, and similar visuals of the 2020 incident, the report added, "Videos posted on social media showed hooded and masked males brandishing what appeared to be weapons, including guns and axes, amid the sound of shots being fired in the air.

The Verdict

This video was not taken during the recent unrest in France. It is from June 2020 and was filmed during a period of raised tension following the alleged assault of a Chechen teenager in the city of Dijon. Hence, this claim is false.

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