An old video of protesters at the Central de la République in France carrying Algerian flags is being linked to the current unrest in France. BOOM found that the video is from 2019 when French-Algerian residents were demonstrating against former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika running for a fifth term.
The video shows demonstrators gathered at Central de la République in Paris and carrying Algerian flags.
Right-wing Twitter users in India have tweeted claiming demonstrators showed their support and demanded justice for Nahel M, a 17-year-old French boy of Algerian descent who was killed by a police officer on June 27, 2023 for failing to stop at a traffic signal.
A caption on Twitter reads, "This is Republic Square,Paris. Refugees crushed French Society France has SURRENDERED हिन्दुस्तानी भाई-बहनों, आप एक ना रहे तो यहाँ भी ऐसा ही होगा ! #FranceHasFallen"
The post is also viral on Facebook.
BOOM found that the video is from 2019 when the Algerian diaspora in France protested against former Algerian president Abdelaliz Bouteflika at Paris' Central de la Republique.
A reverse image search of some keyframes from the video led us to an article by Vox published on March 11, 2019 titled 'Algeria’s president won’t run for a fifth term. It’s a huge win for protesters.' The story carried visuals similar to our viral video and stated that the people of Algeria had been carrying out anti-Bouteflika protests since February 2019. Some photos in the story showed protests from France as well.
Taking a cue from this, we looked for more information about the protests and found a report by France 24 published on March 10. The story carried visuals of protesters from different parts of France, including Paris, Marseille, and Bordeaux. A photo from Central de la République can be seen below:
A keyword search of the incident on Twitter led us to a video by France 24 journalist Selina Sykes who had shared a video similar to our viral video on March 10. The video was captioned, "French-Algerians and Algerians living in France protesting against Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term. Place de la République in Paris awash with Algerian flags and banners calling for a free and democratic Algeria."
Here is a comparison between the viral video and the original video:
Algeria, a former colony of France, saw massive protests in 2019 demanding Bouteflika step down as president of the country, a position he held for 20 years. The 82-year-old announced his plans to run for a fifth term on February 22, 2019, amid Algeria's deteriorating economy and reports of Bouteflika's own ill-health, raising questions about his competency; Bouteflika was rarely seen in public after suffering a stroke in 2013.
The protests even spread to France, which is home to an estimated 760,000 Algerian immigrants.
Protestors alleged that Bouteflika was being used as a puppet candidate for Algeria's elite, including powerful civilians and military figures.
Bouteflika finally succumbed to the protests on April 2, 2019 while tendering his resignation and announcing that he would not be continuing his bid for the presidency, leading to large-scale celebrations in Algeria and France.