CLAIMS That Government Shuts Off Internet Access Amid French Riots

( — Over the weekend, a Twitter account posted a phony news release supposedly from the French Interior Ministry claiming that the government was restricting internet access throughout the country starting on July 2.

But like a lot of things that get posted on the internet, the claim was a lie.

In a tweet later that day, the Interior Ministry confirmed that the news release was false and there had been no decision to restrict internet access on July 2.

Despite the claim being a lie, it still spread rapidly on social media and was picked up by many blogs.

To quell the viral tide, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs also tweeted that the viral press release was fake.

The weeklong riots in France that erupted last Tuesday after a teenager from Algeria was shot and killed by police were more subdued by Monday after the Interior Ministry deployed 45,000 police along with armored vehicles and special forces to maintain order, Bloomberg reported.

The violent unrest began after a 17-year-old known only as Nahel was fatally shot by a police officer after running a red light in the Paris suburb of Nanterre last Tuesday.

According to Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache, the officer shot Nahel because he feared that someone might get hit by his car. On Thursday, Prache said the officer has been charged with voluntary homicide and is being held in custody.

NBC News reported that more than half of the 2,400 arrests last week occurred on Friday, with 1,311 rioters arrested, according to the Interior Ministry. The majority of individuals arrested were between the ages of 13 and 17.

Another 719 arrests were made on Saturday after Nahel’s funeral in Nanterre according to the Interior Ministry.

But by Monday, with additional police and armored vehicles deployed, the riots eased somewhat. According to the Interior Ministry, the number of arrests on Monday dropped to just 157, bringing the total arrests to 3,200, Bloomberg reported.

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