Is the Paris town hall replacing a Paris lighthouse with social housing for migrants?

A Facebook post from La Gauche m’a Tuer (a Far Right opinion website) accused the Paris town hall of having demolished a lighthouse in order to build studios to house migrants. The lighthouse, built in the 1990s and located on Castagnary Street in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, was demolished early February 2017. It is to be replaced by “council houses for 251 students, young workers and migrant workers”, according to an article by the French newspaper Le Parisien cited by the website La Gauche m’a Tuer. Deceivingly titled “Paris town hall decides to demolish its lighthouse to build studios for migrants!”, this post was shared over 2700 times on Facebook.

Contacted by CrossCheck, the head of housing at Paris town hall, Ian Brossat, explained that the social housing will not be used exclusively for migrants: “It is a mixed residence. Social housing but also student housing. In is not a center for refugees”.

François-Marie Retourné, head of communications at Paris Habitat (the group in charge of this social housing project), explained the distribution of the studios to CrossCheck. A total of 244 studios will be built: 101 studios for students handled by CROUS (the regional center for universities); 98 studios for young people in unstable work to be handled by the occupational integration agency Adoma; and 45 studios to house migrant workers who lost their housing due to the renovation of their former community houses.

Adoma agency clarified to CrossCheck that “it is not going to house newly arrived migrants but rather legal working migrants already housed by the Paris town hall. It is often workers employed in housekeeping, waste collection and the recycling industries”.

The lighthouse had housed the fish shop Samouraïs des Mers in 2001 until its closure in 2012. Since then it had been sheltering old oil tanks belonging to an urban heating facility that later switched over to gas.

This article arose in response to a question submitted for CrossCheck by a web user.



Emmanuel Macron accused of planning to establish Sharia law in Mayotte

In an article published on the 30th of March, the website Résistance Républicaine declared that the candidate for the French presidency Emmanuel Macron “wants to establish Sharia law in Mayotte”. Mayotte is a French overseas department located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa, between Madagascar and Mozambique. The accusation came about through conjecture – using a speech by a Macron supporter on the island who has no official connection to the candidate.  The website Résistance Républicaine, which claims to be fighting against “Islamisation, the Anglo-Saxon model, and liberal progress”, accused the former Economy minister of planning to allow “polygamy” in France’s 101st department.

However, on a short visit to the island on March 26th, Macron stated that: “We are honoured that, in 2005, we repealed polygamy and unilateral repudiation“.

Résistance Républicaine uses quotes of Mohamadi Bacar Mcolon to make its argument. Mcolon is put forward by the site as one of Macron’s “campaign directors” in Mayotte. He is, however, not an official representative of the En Marche party within the department.

Speaking on Mayotte Première, the local news arm of France’s public broadcaster France Televisions, Mcolon stated that Emmanuel Macron would like to render “power” to the cadis – “pillars of social cohesion in Mayotte”, without further clarification. Macron, however, has never evoked the situation of those muslim religious authorities, according to three journalists who were in Mayotte with Macron and contacted by CrossCheck.

The cadis served as justices of the peace before seeing their powers reduced following the signing of the agreement on the future of Mayotte in 2000, paving the way for the 2011 departmentalisation, notably because of the rejection “by the population of certain principles of customary law (repudiation, polygamy, double inheritance of men …)”, according to a 2008-2009 report from the French Senate.

Since last year, the cadis have once again fulfilled a more limited mission of social mediation under the aegis of Mayotte’s departmental administration.

Contacted by a journalist of the Crosscheck project, the campaign team of Emmanuel Macron clarified his position: “There are local realities in certain territories that we can not deny, the cadis of Mayotte are part of it, Emmanuel Macron’s commitment is that the laws of the Republic apply to all, that all violations of the laws of the Republic are prosecuted, and that secularism imposes itself on all. “



Jewish tombstones were not desecrated in the cemetery of Pantin

During the night of the 23rd to 24th of March, thirteen tombs in the Jewish section of the cemetery of Pantin in Paris were damaged. Rumours of vandalism and desecration spread across social networks. In reality, this was an accident: a truck hit the tomb stones while trying to avoid a car.


(Translation: ‘Pantin cemetery… Jewish tombs vandalized… during the night of Thursday to Friday.’)

On March 24th the website Europe Israel claimed that: “dozens of tombs have been destroyed and/or vandalized”. Two days later the same publication claimed to have received photographs and videos from the public and reported in an article that: “all reach the same conclusion: the theory of the road accident is highly unlikely”.


(Translation: “Picture taken this morning: Pantin cemetery, Jewish section: a “crazy truck”? People need to stop lying and treating us like idiots…!’)

The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) denounced the panic observed on social networks in an editorial. “A simple news story that occurred last Monday and was treated and reported as such over the following week turned into digital delirium over the weekend”, lamented the president of the CRIF, Francis Kalifat. “If the authors of the rumors had asked the relevant persons what had happened, they wouldn’t have got the social networks excited over nothing. They wouldn’t have created as much buzz or generated as many likes or shares. They would, however, have demonstrated responsible behavior”.

(Translation: ‘I am surprised by the extent to which this affair is being blown out of proportion, we are dealing with a road accident, albeit in a cemetery…’)

In a press release on March 26th, Paris City Hall confirmed that a police investigation had established the truck driver’s responsibility for the accident and determined that the truck was driving over the speed limit. The municipality has committed to restore the damaged tombs as soon as is possible.

Matthieu Lamarre, press advisor to the mayor of Paris, shared two pictures of the truck. The pictures had been taken by the authorities responsible for the maintenance of the cemetery .

Lamarre told CrossCheck that: “the truck could not be removed from the cemetery for over two days and we had to use a crane to remove it”.


(Translation: ‘2 photos for those who continue to say that the tombs of the #Pantin cemetery were desecrated. No, it was indeed a road accident.’)




Jean-Luc Mélenchon accused of having praised the Front National party in 1991

French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a strong opponent of the Front National, is wrongly accused of having praised the party in the past. This rumor is based on a copy of an incomplete interview in the Quotidien de Paris (a French newspaper), dating back to December 25th, 1991. Mélenchon is quoted as having said: “The only party that rehabilitates politics is the Front National”, but the quotation is truncated. In fact it was not praise for Marine Le Pen’s party. However, comments on the post by Facebook page “On Aime La France” (We love France) declared the opposite, and the misleading post was shared 15,000 times in under 24 hours.

(Translation: “The only party that rehabilitates politics is the Front National”.  There you have a statement by Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 1991. Please share this image so many times so that it goes around France! Just blow up the sharing meter! I’m counting on you, one and all! Thank you in advance.’)

In this Quotidien de Paris interview (which is not to be found it its original form on the Internet), Mélenchon, a member of the ruling Socialist Party in 1991, criticized the absence of Socialist Party proposals. “The SP has abandoned politics. I am going to tell you something awful: today, the party that rehabilitates politics is the Front National”, said Mélenchon, according to an extract of the interview published the following day (December 26th,1991) by Le Monde.

In 2011, when asked about the quote on Direct 8 (a French TV Channel) by Valérie Trierweiler, Mélenchon firstly reminded us that he “fought hard to make the Front National illegal”.

He then explained his statement in 1991: “It meant that the militants and managers of the Front National believe politics can change the course of events, which I agree with. Then, there are people that disagree and believe there is only one option, only one possible world order”, said Mélenchon at the 15th minute of the video.

Front National leader Marine Le Pen also mentioned the 1991 interview to Mélenchon on France 3 (a French TV Channel) on June 2nd,2012 (11th minute of the video), as both were competing for the deputy position in Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais, Northern France). “You did not find this article by yourself”, answered Mélenchon, before restating his explanation as given to Valérie Trierweiler a few months prior.