Thursday, June 13, 2024

Fire at one of world’s most famous palaces sparks wild conspiracy theory

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One of the top tourist attractions in France has been evacuated during a fire, just weeks before the start of the Paris Olympics.

Footage shows smoke billowing from the rooftop of the Palace of Versailles – one of Europe’s most grandiose buildings – on Tuesday afternoon.

Chaos engulfed the national landmark in the moments after flames were spotted and all visitors were rushed outside.

The former royal residence commissioned by King Louis XIV, located around 15 miles west of the capital, is among the most visited attractions across the country.

The ongoing evacuation at the Palace of Versailles (Picture: Reuters)
It is understood that nothing was damaged by the flames (Picture: Reuters)

A spokesperson confirmed that the flames were swiftly brought under control, but this did not stop conspiracy theories to spread on social media.

They said: ‘Firefighters came. There is no more smoke, no more flames and there is no damage to the collection.’

The fire broke out in an area of roofing where renovation works were being done.

What caused the fire remains unconfirmed, but there is much speculation that it is somehow connected with the turbulent times France is undergoing amid the snap election less than three weeks away, on June 30.

There is absolutely nothing to support such misinformation, but such claims were quickly repeated online.

President Emmanuel Macron announced his plan to dissolve parliament following a massive loss for his Renaissance party in Sunday’s European Parliament election.

According to initial polls, the far-right National Rally is forecast to win but also fall short of an absolute majority.

Multiple protests took place in the hours after Macron’s announcement in major cities across the country in response to the French electoral results.

Now, users on X are speculating whether the fire in Versailles is somehow linked.

One person tweeted: ‘Under the Macron mandate, every time a sombre event happens, a symbol of France sets on fire.’



What is happening politically in France?

French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved parliament and called a snap election after his party suffered a crushing defeat to the far-right in the EU elections earlier this week.

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party won 32% of the vote in the European Parliament – more than twice as much as Macron’s centrist, pro-EU Renaissance party who gathered just 15% of the vote.

‘I cannot act as if nothing had happened,’ Macron said as he announced the surprise election after his party took home just 15% of the vote.

‘I have decided to give you the choice.’

National Rally is France’s main opposition party with 88 MPs in the country’s parliament, despite facing longstanding accusations of racism and antisemitism.

My colleague, Tom Sanders, unpacks the spread of the far-right across Europe in this article.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.


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