Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Pro-Palestine Activists' Setting Fire To Police Station In Brussels In October 2023 -- Footage Is From 2021

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Pro-Palestine Activists' Setting Fire To Police Station In Brussels In October 2023 -- Footage Is From 2021 2021 Protest

Does a video show "pro-Palestine activists" setting fire to a police station in Brussels in October 2023? No, that's not true: The footage is from January 2021, when people in Belgium were protesting police violence after a Black man died while in police custody. The video, published on multiple international news websites in 2021, has nothing to do with the Hamas-Israel conflict in October 2023.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 17, 2023. It opened with the caption:

pro-Palestine activists set fire to a police station in Brussels

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

image - 2023-10-18T103237.247.png

Twitter screenshot

(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Oct 18 17:33:22 2023 UTC)

The 13-second video was published on the Daily Mail website on January 14, 2021, in an article titled, "Belgian rioters attack the king's car with him inside in violent unrest over death in police custody of black man who was arrested for breaking coronavirus curfew." Ibrahima Barrie, 23, died while in police custody, and hundreds of supporters protested his death, the news outlet reported. Here is a screengrab of the video on the website (archived here):

Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 11.10.00 AM.png

(Source: Daily Mail screenshot taken on Wed Oct 18 17:38:22 2023 UTC)

The same video was posted on YouTube on January 13, 2021, with the caption, "Massive riots have kicked off in Brussels Belgium Flag of Belgium after 23-year old Ibrahima died in police custody," archived here.

CNN posted about the protest in Belgium following Barrie's death (archived here) in January 2021. Insider Paper reported on the death in an article titled, "Protestors in Brussels set police station on fire after Ibrahima died in custody," dated January 13, 2021, (archived here) that included the video that matches the one posted on X in 2023.

Other Lead Stories fact checks that mention the Hamas-Israel conflict are here.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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