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May 20, 2022



Another Czech-language Internet hoax gives false, sectarian, xenophobic interpretation to video of riot

23.11.2017 10:16
The Facebook page of the Czech-language
The Facebook page of the Czech-language "Europe for Europeans" group (Evropa Evropanům) (2017).

A video has been shared almost 1 500 times by the Facebook page "Evropa-Evropanům" ("Europe for Europeans") and viewed by more than 80 000 unique users featuring scenes of violence on the streets of Brussels. The page is alleging the footage is of refugees attacking police, breaking in shop windows and destroying Christmas decorations.

Absolutely all of those claims are false. The video actually shows fans of a rap star, Vargassse 92, engaged in the violence.

"Migrating youth assault police, smash in shops and windows, destroy Christmas decorations...," the administrators of the Facebook page have posted in an attempt to allege that the reason for the violence is religion and that the vandals were atacking symbols of the Christian holiday of Christmas. The violence did actually happen in Brussels on Wednesday, 15 November, but religion played no role in it.

Belgian police released no information as to whether any of the rioters were either migrants or refugees, and there are no official reports of the destruction of Christmas decorations having been part of the damage. The Czech News Agency wire service reported on the incident as follows:  "Belgian Police arrested 30 persons in the center of Brussels Wednesday for rioting. The group of predominantly young people destroyed shop display windows and automobiles near the Place de la Monnaie."

According to Agence France-Presse, the well-liked French rapper Vargasss 92 summoned his fans to the spot and was one of the 30 people arrested. The rap star invited his fans through social networking sites, where he is followed by more than 600 000 young people, to help him make a video through a so-called flash mob.

The rapper had neglected to apply for a permit, so police prevented him from filming. "Incomprehensible and unacceptable violence in the center of Brussels again," commented Belgian Interior Mnister Jan Jambon on Twitter, who also said the police intervention had been necessary to restore order.

The Belgian news server La Derniére Heure reported that roughly 100 rioters were pacified by about 50 police officers. As for "Europe for Europeans", this is not the first time the hateful Czech-language Facebook page has shared a deceptive or manipulative video.

In the summer of 2016, the page posted video footage of a brutal clash between riot police and young men, identifying it as an "Islamic invasion" of Europe. The well-liked Czech documentary filmmaker Dan Pribáň then posted to his own Facebook page that the footage was not of an attack by "Islamists", but of a demonstration by students in Peru demanding that a university be opened, and he called on his fans and friends to post the information to "Europe for Europeans" that their description of the video was deceptive.

Europe for Europeans subsequently deleted that particular video. At the beginning of 2016 they had published a video that they alleged showed immigrant youth assaulting and robbing a young woman somewhere in Europe, but the footage was from Brazil.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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