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Unrelated photo wrongly linked to June 2023 France protests over teen killing

Photo actually shows arson by football fans in Netherlands

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Claim: A picture shows a car on fire amid riots in Belgium over the June 2023 police killing of Nahel M in Paris, France.

Fact: The picture is unrelated to the June 2023 France protests and is, in fact, from football fans engaging in arson in Amsterdam following Morocco’s win over Belgium in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

On 1 July 2023, Soch Fact Check received a WhatsApp forwarded message with a picture depicting a burning vehicle during what appears to be riots. The text accompanying the image is reproduced below:

Riots are now breaking out in #Belgium as huge numbers of migrants begin to loot and burn the city. Police are mobilizing massive reserves to try to quell the uprising there but it looks like another EU state is about to go up in flames. As #DutchFarmers are being forced off their farms by Klaus Schwab the leader of the World Economic Forum, look to #Holland next for the flames of rebellion to ignite.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check used reverse image search tools to ascertain that the video, in fact, is from the riots that broke out in Amsterdam and shows a car on fire in Mercatorplein, or Mercator Square, in the city’s Western part. The disturbance (archive) was due to the victory of Morocco over Belgium in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The article cited above also carries a tweet that shows scenes from the riots.

“Police in the neighboring Netherlands said violence erupted in the port city of Rotterdam, with riot officers attempting to break up a group of 500 football fans who pelted police with fireworks and glass,” the publication said.

The picture in question is credited to photo agency Hollandse Hoogte for ANP foto, a Dutch image company, and is available on Alamy.

The caption accompanying the picture, which was taken on 27 November 2022, is as follows:

AMSTERDAM – The exuberant party atmosphere on the Mercatorplein has turned into a grim atmosphere. Heavy fireworks are set off and a car is destroyed and set on fire. ANP / Hollandse Hoogte / NieuwsFoto.nl netherlands out”.

Another photo of the same scene but from a slightly different angle is available on IMAGO, an independent photo agency in Germany, here.

A local broadcasting company, Rijnmond.nl, reported (archive) that four people were arrested and “two police officers were injured in disturbances in the center of Rotterdam after Morocco’s World Cup win”.

Al Jazeera reported (archive) that “unrest” was reported in Brussels, with the Associated Press saying (archive) almost a dozen were detained in the Belgian capital. The Brussels Times claimed (archive) that more than 60 people were arrested “as mass riots spread over France”.

Virality

Soch Fact Check found the claim tweeted by two verified users — here and here — the latter of which is the account of Jim Ferguson, the Brexit Party’s Barnsley East former candidate.

It was also shared here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook.

Conclusion: The picture is, in fact, from football fans engaging in arson in Amsterdam following Morocco’s win over Belgium in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It is not related to the June 2023 France protests.


Background image in cover photo: Louis-Etienne Foy


To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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