FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A French Anti-Vaccine Passport Demonstration?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows people in France protesting against COVID-19 vaccine passports.

Verdict: False

The photo actually shows a crowd assembling to show solidarity after terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015.

Fact Check:

People in France currently must present a special health pass to access “leisure and culture venues and events bringing together more than 50 people” such as restaurants, malls and retirement homes, as well as for long-distance plane, train or bus travel, according to the French government’s website. The health pass must prove the holder has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result in the past 48 hours or recovered from COVID-19 infection.

The image of a large crowd in Paris’ Place de la République after dark has circulated in recent days along with claims that it shows French people protesting against COVID-19 health passes. One Aug. 28 iteration includes text that reads, “France is on the brink of revolution. Hospital workers are not just refusing the jabberwocky, they are refusing to administer it. People in cities around the country are in the streets protesting govt mandated vpassports.”

In reality, the gathering captured in the photo is unrelated to COVID-19 vaccine passports, having taken place years before the pandemic began. The picture can be found the website of Getty Images, where the caption explains it was taken in early January 2015 after a deadly attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Getty Images attributed the photo to AFP, which published it with the same explanation.

The terrorist attack killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices and was one of several deadly attacks carried out in Paris by Islamist militants and their accomplices from Jan. 7 to 9 of that year, according to CNN. Marches were held in the country and around the world to demonstrate unity and solidarity against the violence, BBC News reported. (RELATED: Viral Post Claims The FDA Did Not Approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine)

While the photo does not show a demonstration against France’s COVID-19 health passes, such protests did occur in France on Aug. 28. The Aug. 28 protests marked the seventh weekend people have taken to the streets in the country to voice opposition to the health passes, according to The Brussels Times.

Though most French health care workers are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, some have protested against the government’s mandate that they do so to continue working, according to EuroNews. The measure requires health care workers to procure their first vaccine dose by Sept. 15 and achieve full vaccination by Oct. 15, the outlet reported.

As of Sept. 2, France has administered nearly 87.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, with about 60 percent of its population fully vaccinated, according to data published by The New York Times.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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