Keyword: Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital

France’s anti-fake news law fails test over interior minister’s false claims

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Interior minister Christophe Castaner's false claims on Twitter on May 1st. Interior minister Christophe Castaner's false claims on Twitter on May 1st.

A newly introduced French law designed to combat the proliferation of false information on social media which may manipulate elections was tested this month for the first time, but not in the manner the government foresaw when it devised the legislation. Two communist politicians lodged a demand, under the articles of the law, for the removal of a message posted on Twitter by French interior minister Christophe Castaner, who falsely claimed that May Day demonstrators had attacked a Paris hospital and its staff. Géraldine Delacroix reports on how they lost their case, but won their demonstration that the law, as they put it, “serves no purpose”.

An incendiary government

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President Emmanuel Macron speaking to 600 mayors at Souillac in south-west France, January 18th 2019. © Reuters President Emmanuel Macron speaking to 600 mayors at Souillac in south-west France, January 18th 2019. © Reuters

The fabricated claim that the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris was attacked by protestors during the traditional May Day demonstrations was a lie too far by a government that denies the reality of its own unpopularity, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel. Its downward authoritarian spiral, he argues, is making it an accomplice in the destruction of democratic ethics.

The French government's lies over May Day 'attack' on Paris hospital

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Police on motorbikes inside the grounds of Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, May 1st 2019. Police on motorbikes inside the grounds of Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, May 1st 2019.

The Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris has been at the centre of a major controversy after incidents that took place there in the aftermath of this year's annual May Day demonstrations. Throughout the evening of May 1st and into the following morning, several members of the government and senior health managers in Paris insisted the well-known hospital had been “attacked” by violent demonstrators. Yet in fact there was no such attack: instead, a few dozen protestors sought refuge in the hospital's buildings to escape police tear gas and charges. There was no threatening behaviour from protestors towards hospital staff and none of them damaged the premises. However, some were later hit by the police. Now interior minister Christophe Castaner has formally retracted his use of the word “attack”. Dan Israel reports.

'Yellow vest' protesters challenge claims they 'attacked' Paris hospital

Demonstrators from a march who entered the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital said they were just seeking refuge from tear gas fired by police.

May Day protests: shock over Paris hospital break-in

Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital director Marie-Anne Ruder said some protesters who broke in wore masks and some were 'yellow-vest' activists.

Jacques Chirac's wife hospitalised alongside him in Paris

Bernadette Chirac, 83, was admitted for fatigue to the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital where her former French president husband, also 83, is being treated for pneumonia.