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Reports: Russia meddling in French protests?

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 10.12.2018 11:50
There is growing suspicion that Russia may have been meddling in volatile street protests in France, a Polish website has reported.
A yellow vest protester holds his hands up as riot police use water cannon during a demonstration in Paris on Saturday. Photo: EPA/IAN LANGSDONA yellow vest protester holds his hands up as riot police use water cannon during a demonstration in Paris on Saturday. Photo: EPA/IAN LANGSDON

Authorities in France have ordered urgent checks of social media accounts that they suspect may have links to Russia and are believed to be spreading fake news about ongoing demonstrations in France, the niezalezna.pl website has reported.

The website claimed that a lot of controversial material has appeared on the web that appears to support theories of Russian involvement in recent anti-government protests in France.

It is believed that about 200 Twitter accounts have been actively spreading fake news and publishing content aimed at escalating social tensions in France, according to niezalezna.pl.

Britain’s The Times newspaper has cited a study according to which hundreds of social media accounts linked to Russia have sought to amplify the street protests in France.

According to the study, by a cybersecurity company called New Knowledge, the accounts have spread disinformation, using photographs of injured protesters from other events to bolster a narrative of brutality by French police, The Times has reported.

France’s General Secretariat for Defence and National Security (SGDSN) has been tasked with checking the most aggressive accounts in terms of cybersecurity, according to niezalezna.pl.

Military and police experts have examined accounts with particularly drastic images of supposed members of France's “Yellow Vest" movement who were allegedly injured in Saturday's clashes with police, the Polish website reported.

It referred to what it described as ample "controversial material" available online, including a video in which yellow vest wearers appear to be spoken to in Russian.

The niezalezna.pl website also referred to a Twitter photo that it said depicted two men wearing yellow vests holding a flag of the self-declared pro-Russian “Donetsk People's Republic,” a Russian-backed separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.

The Polish website cited Ukraine’s Unian news agency as reporting that the two men are Frenchmen who have visited the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. One of them was allegedly an "observer" as “elections” were held in the Donetsk People's Republic in November, and the other is believed to have penned pro-Russian stories that have been published in some French media, according to niezalezna.pl.


Source: niezalezna.pl, The Times

tags: France, Russia
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