In this picture taken from the terrace of the Publicis Group people take the streets around the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate France's World Cup victory over Croatia, in Paris, France, Sunday, July 15, 2018. France won the final 4-2. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Purported France protest photo is really a World Cup reboot

AAP FactCheck July 28, 2021

The Statement

A photo posted on an Australian Instagram account claims to show a huge crowd in Paris protesting on July 24 against France’s measures to combat COVID-19.

The purported protest photo is captioned: “We are the many and the petty little tyrants fear us immensely. That is why propaganda and c3ns0rsh1p are at unmatched levels. The system is collapsing, buckle up and enjoy the ride. Image from Paris, France on 7/24”.

The July 27 post had more than 1700 likes at the time of writing. The same photo has also been used on multiple Facebook posts in French – see examples here and here.

The Instagram post
 A post claims to show thousands in Paris protesting against France’s COVID measures on July 24. 

The Analysis

There were many photos taken of the thousands of Parisians who protested against the French government’s COVID-19 measures on July 24 – but the Instagram post’s image is not one of them.

The photo was in fact taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in July 2018 following France’s World Cup soccer final victory against Croatia.

The July 24 protests in Paris culminated in police firing tear gas after attempts to push back the crowds. Reports quoted France’s interior ministry saying 161,000 people had demonstrated across the country, while a week earlier more than 100,000 people rallied against anti-coronavirus measures.

The protesters’ main target was reportedly the Macron government’s health pass, which from July 21 became a requirement for leisure and cultural venues catering to more than 50 people. The pass carries proof the holder is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, has tested negative for the virus within the past 48 hours or recovered from the disease within the previous six months.

From August, the measure will be extended to cover entry to restaurants and bars after French lawmakers approved the change on July 26.

Despite the array of photos published in the media from the protests, the post’s photo is a three-year-old image of crowds flooding the streets of Paris following France’s World Cup win in Moscow.

The photo, taken by Ludovic Marin for Agence France-Presse (AFP), was used in this report from July 16, 2018, as well as in photo galleries here, here and here.

Video footage shared by ABC News in the US on its Twitter account on July 17, 2018, shows the crowds gathered around the Arc de Triomphe as viewed from a similar vantage point as the photo in the post.

Fans celebrate France's 2018 World Cup victory in Paris.
 This picture taken from a terrace shows the 2018 victory celebrations near the Arc de Triomphe. 

The Verdict

The post’s photo is from French news agency AFP and shows fans in Paris celebrating the nation’s World Cup final win in July 2018. It is not of protests against France’s COVID-19 countermeasures on July 24, 2021, as claimed.

False – Content that has no basis in fact.

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