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Fact Check-Claims that apartment fire in Paris was related to protests opposed to French vaccine policy are baseless

Dozens of social media users have reacted to an unsubstantiated suggestion that a fire close to the French prime minister’s residence in Paris was related to protests opposing government policy on COVID-19 vaccines.

The fire broke out just after 9am on July 20 at a building on Rue de Varenne in the 7th district of Paris, according to the city’s fire brigade (here and here). This location is a short distance from both the Hôtel de Matignon, the residence of French Prime Minister Jean Castex, and the Italian embassy.

Videos of the fire later spread online – some with the suggestion that it was somehow linked to the government’s July announcement about compulsory health passes for hospitality locations.

One Facebook user asked: “Fire near the Matignon Palace, the residence of the French Prime Minister. Is this a reaction to the announcement of the discriminatory vaccine passports?” (here)

“That what happens when people are being pushed to the limits,” replied one of dozens of people in the comments left underneath.

While it is true that the French government’s announcement proved controversial, prompting thousands to protest in opposition on July 14, there is no evidence that the fire on July 20 was linked (here).

According to French media, the cause of the fire is still unknown – and the building is said to be unoccupied and sealed-off due to ongoing renovations (here). The Italian embassy tweeted that the blaze was in a private apartment (here).

No injuries were reported (here).

VERDICT

Missing context. A fire broke out in a private apartment on July 20 near the French prime minister’s residence. Claims the fire is linked to government vaccine policy are baseless.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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