‘Discount on a Lidl in Belgium’: the fake video inciting racism online

A tweet posted on October 16 says that a video of a crowd of people shouting in Arabic and pushing each other into a supermarket was taken in Molenbeek, a neighborhood in Brussels, Belgium.

The video provoked a series of xenophobic and hateful responses. However, the video was shot in Algeria and shows a rush in a supermarket due to food shortages across the country.

How we discredit it

“Belgium. Lidl discount day in Molenbeek,” reads the tweet innocently. The racist responses began almost immediately. The people in the video, who speak Arabic, are assumed to be immigrants in a European country.

One person responded to the tweet saying: “They have no manners. They behave as they would in their home country.” Several Twitter users call the people in the video “wild”, while one comment suggests putting the product they are trying to buy “on the other side of the Mediterranean and then we close the borders.”

The tweet has been archived here.

The video was filmed in Algeria and has nothing to do with immigration.

A reverse image search with InVID WeVerify (this is how it is used) helps us find the original video, which was taken in the Algerian city of Sétif.

The same video also appears in a newsletter of the Moroccan television channel Medi TV, published on March 23, 2021 on YouTube.

If we compare the photos of the UNO supermarket in this location that we found on Google Maps with the video, we can see several similarities such as the same signs, aisle numbers and general arrangement.

The reason these people were so desperate to buy cooking oil is due to national food shortages in Algeria in March and April this year. It was partly due to a conflict between producers and retailers, and was exacerbated by the pandemic and the consequent disruption of supply chains, as well as the start of Ramadan.

This is not the first time a random video has been used as a racist dog whistle. Don’t believe everything you read and learn how to debunk photos and videos online before sharing!

>> Read more at The Observers: How a video from Ireland was used as anti-migrant propaganda in France

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