Fake News: NO EU Army Deployed To Paris To Crush French Revolution

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: NO EU Army Deployed To Paris To Crush French Revolution

Was the "EU Army" deployed to the streets of Paris to "crush" the "French Revolution" this weekend? No, that's not true: the claim came from a notoriously unreliable website that tries to make money by luring in people with explosive headlines that often misrepresent what actually happened in order to earn money with advertising. It is not true.

The story originated from an article published by NewsPunch on December 8, 2018 titled "EU Army Deployed To Paris To Crush French Revolution" (archived here) which opened:

The EU army has been deployed to the streets of Paris in an attempt to crush the historic French revolution currently sweeping across France.

Armoured European Union military vehicles were filmed storming Paris on Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of protestors continue to protest globalism.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

EU Army Deployed To Paris To Crush French Revolution

The EU army has been deployed to the streets of Paris in an attempt to crush the historic French revolution currently sweeping across France.

First of all, there is no such thing as an "EU Army". All European nations have their own militaries and while there is some common policy and collaboration there is no unified organisation with its own uniforms and command structure. There has been talk of establishing something like that but for now it is just that: talk.

European army: No longer a taboo subject

Both Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron mentioned the idea of creating a real European army. This unprecedented convergence of French and German thoughts and words, which incurred the wrath of America, marks a turning point. EURACTIV France reports. The idea of establishing a European army is coming back.

The video in the tweets the NewsPunch article is based on actually show armored cars of the French Gendarmerie Nationale, which is a kind of national police force overseen by the interior ministry but technically part of the military. They are not part of any type of unit run or overseen by the EU.

So why is there a European flag on one of the vehicles visible in several tweeted pictures and videos? French fact checkers looked into it:

Pourquoi un véhicule blindé de la gendarmerie arborait-il un drapeau européen samedi à Paris?

Question posée par le 09/12/2018 Bonjour, vous avez été nombreux à nous poser cette question, en ajoutant un lien vers les photos prises d'un véhicule de la gendarmerie arborant les étoiles européennes sur son blindage.

They concluded that the posts mostly depicted one vehicle which could be recognized by name "Hermès", the number "12" and the license plate "654 0293":

Un seul blindé?
A noter que toutes les photos semblent en fait concerner un seul et même véhicule, reconnaissable non seulement à un numéro sur son flanc (le «12», l'inscription «Hermès», et surtout son immatriculation : 654 0293 qu'on voit (ou distingue) sur toutes les images et vidéos.

They also contacted the communications service of the Gendarmerie and according to them the flag had been added during a recent training excercise in the Dordogne region that was part of a European partnership.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes newspunch.com as:

A news and conspiracy website that regularly publishes false information and far-right conspiracy theories. The site was formerly housed under the domain yournewswire.com.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about newspunch.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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