FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show French Police Setting Down Their Helmets In Support Of Protesters In July 2021?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows police officers in France putting their helmets down in the street in solidarity with protesters during July 2021 demonstrations against COVID-19 restrictions.

Verdict: False

The footage actually shows French police showing support for health care workers protesting in June 2020.

Fact Check:

Protests broke out in multiple French cities after French President Emmanuel Macron announced new COVID-19-related rules on July 12, Reuters reported. The rules include mandating health care workers be vaccinated by September 15, and requiring health passes showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter venues such as restaurants, bars and theaters, as well as board trains and planes, according to the outlet.

A video shared on Facebook on July 17 purportedly shows a scene from the recent protests in which law enforcement personnel placed their helmets on the ground as civilians gathered around them and applauded.

“Police in France with the people of France take off their helmets,” the video’s caption reads. “This happened during this weeks protests ! Let’s goooo France.” (RELATED: Does This Image Show An ‘Electric Car Cemetery’ In France?)

The video, however, predates the recent demonstrations against COVID-19 restrictions in France. Through a reverse image search of key frames, Check Your Fact found similar footage published on YouTube by French magazine L’Obs in June 2020, with the title: “Police officers and caregivers applaud during the demonstration in Nîmes.”

The video showed police in Nimes, France, on June 16, 2020, acknowledging health care workers who were protesting in support of a public hospital there, according to a translation of the video’s description.

Tens of thousands of French medical workers demonstrated on June 16, 2020, advocating for the country’s government to raise health service wages, pause service cuts and stop hospitals from closing amid the pandemic, France 24 reported. The government signed an agreement with unions on July 13, 2020 enacting roughly $9 billion in wage increases for health care personnel, according to BBC News.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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