Fact check: French police did not throw their handcuffs on the ground in protest of a ‘corona dictatorship’

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

A video of French police officers discarding their handcuffs on the Champs-Élysées has been falsely shared as evidence of law enforcement protesting Emmanuel Macron’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The footage, uploaded to several accounts in late September, (here, here) shows a line of French police officers demonstrating in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The camera moves along the line as each officer throws a pair of handcuffs to the floor. In the background, people can be heard shouting: “Démission Castaner,” translating to “resign Castaner”.

The caption accompanying one of the videos reads: “The French police oppose Macron's corona dictatorship and throw the handcuffs on the floor! No more arrests! We will see how many will still get up.” Another titles the video: “French Police defying Macrons corona.” The video has also been shared widely in other languages that make the same claims about the context of the demonstration (here).

But this video was neither filmed in September, nor does it show a protest against Macron’s COVID-19 response. In fact, it was filmed during a widely reported demonstration in June (here, here) in response to tougher measures introduced on the police force. At the time, officers across France were expressing their opposition to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner’s announced ban on the controversial chokehold technique, and to immediately suspend any officers suspected of misconduct (here).


False. The video was filmed in June amid a police protest against new measures for officer suspensions and detainment techniques. It is not related to Macron’s coronavirus response.

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