France protests: Did diners continue eating their meal surrounded by flames?

Diners continued eating their meals seemingly unfazed
Diners continued eating their meals seemingly unfazed Copyright Twitter screenshot
Copyright Twitter screenshot
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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Euronews has fact-checked multiple viral videos on Twitter claiming to show the recent pension reform protests in France

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This Tuesday marks the 10th day of strikes in France against French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform. 

Thousands have been taking to the streets to voice their fury after Macron's government rammed the legislation through parliament without a vote by using a special constitutional clause.

Violent clashes between protesters and police have been reported and many videos of altercations have gone viral on social media.

The Cube looked into some of the most shared videos these past few days on Twitter to see which are true and which ones are misleading. 

Did diners continue their meal as a fire burned outside?

Then there’s another video that’s been massively shared on Twitter causing the bemusement of thousands of people around the world.

It shows diners seated peacefully eating their pizza seemingly unfazed as a fire burns in the background.

This video is real and was filmed during recent protests, but not in Lyon as the initial tweet claims.

The French newspaper Liberation found it was filmed in Saint-Etienne, in east-central France on March 20th.

The restaurant owner told the French media the customers are calm because firefighters had already started extinguishing the blaze outside.

Did the French Gendarmes tell anti-riot police to stop being violent?

This video was shared thousands of times and claims to show the National Gendarmerie, a branch of the Armed Forces, intervening during an altercation between the French anti-protest police and demonstrators.

"You need to stop this right now," yells a gendarme to the policemen, insinuating their methods are too violent.

One policeman can be heard explaining "We were told to come here and disperse [the demonstrators]".

"Disperse does not mean you should be tear gassing them," angrily shouts the gendarme, asking the policemen to move away from the crowd.

A French left-wing politician, Bastien Lachaud, tweeted the video saying “The gendarmes themselves are ashamed of the behavior of the violent Anti-protest police brigade and are forced to pull them back into line. Quickly disband this harmful unit.”

However, Euronews found the original video and it dates back to June 2020 during a protest organised against police violence in Paris - nothing to do with the recent demonstrations against the pension reform.

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