French minister slammed for twisting ‘truth’ after fake claim of hospital attack by Yellow Vests
After thousands of protesters took to the streets of Paris to mark International Workers’ Day on Wednesday, Castaner took to Twitter to condemn what he said was an attack on the city’s Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital.
The protesters, he said "assaulted nursing staff,” and “wounded a policeman mobilized to protect it.”
Ici, à la Pitié-Salpêtrière, on a attaqué un hôpital.On a agressé son personnel soignant. Et on a blessé un policier mobilisé pour le protéger.Indéfectible soutien à nos forces de l’ordre : elles sont la fierté de la République. pic.twitter.com/BjXYFw2XzR— Christophe Castaner (@CCastaner) May 1, 2019
Health Minister Agnes Buzyn described the alleged break-in as “unspeakable,” while Prime Minister Edouard Philippe condemned it as “totally irresponsible.”
A damning indictment of France’s often unruly Yellow Vests for sure. However, social media footage that surfaced in the aftermath paints a different picture.
Footage shot from inside the hospital appears to show crowds of demonstrators chased toward the building by charging riot police.
Fleeing tear gas and batons, the protesters apparently tried to enter the hospital to seek refuge.
A nurse in the hospital, which houses surgical patients in intensive care, told BFMTV that staff inside “did not feel especially attacked. There were even some people trying to calm things down. They understood that we couldn’t let them inside the hospital.”
2/2#PitieSalepetriere Les manifestants ne savaient pas en pénétrant dans ce lieu que c'était un hôpital, sur la grille c’est juste écrit:« CROUS Résidence Universitaire »Il n’y a donc aucune volonté d’attaqué un hôpital comme disaient #Castaner et #MartinHirsch#FakeNewspic.twitter.com/S5z5zlr7Qd— PeupleFrance® 🇫🇷 (@justofly) May 3, 2019
#PitieSalpetriere#Paris: In this video you can see what police violence people where fleeing for. Minister of interior and several media outlets spreading disinformation... #1ermai#1mai#MayDay#GiletsJaunes More information here: https://t.co/1qm97EMGUhpic.twitter.com/iwS4eMVdtc— Enough 14 (@enough14) May 2, 2019
Left-wing opposition leader Jean-Luc Melenchon savaged Castaner’s accusation, accusing the minister of fabricating a “pseudo attack” to turn public opinion against the Yellow Vests.
“If it was a deliberate lie intended solely to delegitimize and tarnish a social movement, then the interior minister should be fired without delay,” socialist politician Benoit Hamon chimed in.
After a barrage of criticism, Castaner attempted to walk back his words on Friday. “I shouldn’t have used the word ‘attack,’” he told a press conference. “The term ‘violent intrusion’ used by the hospital director seems to be more accurate giving the videos on it shared ever since.”Also on rt.com Tear gas fired during May Day demonstrations in Paris, scores detained
Elsewhere in Paris on Wednesday, Yellow Vests protesters, labor unions, pensioners and students marched to celebrate International Workers’ Day, a date marked by marches to campaign for improved working conditions and other social issues.
Although many Yellow Vests demonstrators marched on Wednesday, the May 1 protests took place separately to the Yellow Vests events which have been held weekly since November, when the movement began as a reaction to a planned fuel tax hike.
Last weekend saw the 24th straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations in France’s major cities, and came days after French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to placate the movement with promises of lower taxes. Macron’s olive branch was not well received, however, with protesters telling AFP that the president’s offering was “rubbish.”
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