FACT CHECK: No, This Photo Does Not Show A Recent French Protest Against COVID-19 Rules

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a recent protest in France against COVID-19 restrictions.

Verdict: False

The image shows a 2015 march against terrorism.

Fact Check:

Protests occurred in France for the fifth straight Saturday on August 14 in response to the COVID-19 health pass mandated to visit venues such as dining establishments and athletic arenas, the Associated Press reported. The pass must prove that an individual is fully vaccinated, received a negative COVID-19 test result in the past 48 hours, or recovered from COVID-19 between 15 days and 6 months ago, according to the French government’s website.

The image in the August 16 Facebook post shows a crowd filling Paris’ Place de la République. “This is what the news is NOT showing you,” the post’s caption reads. “France may be the first nation, but not the last, to take back their country from draconian law makers mandating ignorant cøvïd policies, lockdowns, and job shut downs on their people.” (RELATED: Image Claims California Is Sending Mail-In Ballots To Voters For Gavin Newsom’s Recall Election Due To The Delta Variant)

The event in the photo actually took place years before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the image published by Reuters in 2015 explaining it showed participants in a march in Paris on Jan. 11, 2015.

“A general view shows hundreds of thousands of French citizens taking part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015,” the caption on Reuters reads. “French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday in an unprecedented tribute to this week’s victims following the shootings by gunmen at the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the killing of a police woman in Montrouge, and the hostage taking at a kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes.”

The march was one of many that were held as a show of unity following terrorist attacks in France the week before that resulted in 17 deaths, according to BBC News. One such attack on Jan. 7, 2015 targeted the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and killed 11 people, the outlet reported. Then-French President Francois Hollande and other dignitaries from around the globe attended the “march of unity” in Paris, according to CNN.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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