Eiffel Tower ‘riot’ photo is actually from Euro 2016 final

3 July 2023
What was claimed

A photo shows riots taking place under the Eiffel Tower “right now”.

Our verdict

The photo comes from 2016 when unrest broke out near the Eiffel Tower during the 2016 European Championship final.

A post on Facebook falsely claims that a photo shows a riot taking place near Paris’ Eiffel Tower in recent days. But the photo was actually taken in 2016. 

The photo shows people, many of them with their face covered, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower next to a burning pile of rubbish. 

The post claims that this shows “riots from illegal immigrants right now in France” and says that this is proof that people in the US need guns for protection. 

Riots have broken out across France after a 17-year-old boy, Nahel M, died after being shot by a police officer at a traffic stop in a Paris suburb on 27 June.  

However the photo shared on social media does not show current riots— it comes from an incident in 2016 when football fans clashed with police during the European Championship final between France and Portugal. 

It was reported that police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds in which people were throwing objects and lighting fires after not being allowed into a fan zone where the match was being screened. 

Full Fact has written many other fact checks on incorrect claims about protests, including a very similar claim that a photo from the 2018 World Cup showed recent protests about the French president Emmanuel Macron and pension reforms. This type of online misinformation can spread very quickly and can create an inaccurate account of current events. 

Misleading images and videos are some of the most common kinds of misinformation we see online, but they can sometimes be hard to spot. It’s always worth checking if social media images and videos show what the post says they do before you share them—we have written a guide on how to do so here.

Image courtesy of Yann Forget

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