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US President retweets false claim that Paris rioters ‘want Trump’

WASHINGTON: Why have French rioters been battling police in Paris? Because they want to be led by Mr Donald Trump, according to a theory retweeted by the US president himself on Tuesday and subsequently debunked.

"'We want Trump' being chanted through the streets of Paris," said conservative student activist Charlie Kirk in a tweet relayed by the president to his more than 56 million Twitter followers.

Most demonstrators have expressed anger over plans to increase fuel taxes and more general anger at inequality in France.

Reprising one of Mr Trump's favourite themes, Mr Kirk tweeted that the media was failing to report the real story.

"There are riots in socialist France because of radical leftist fuel taxes. Media barely mentioning this," Mr Kirk wrote, although the fuel tax issue has been given blanket coverage around the world.

"America is booming, Europe is burning They want to cover up the middle class rebellion against cultural Marxism," he wrote in the punctuation- and grammar-light message.

Mr Kirk is the first to be retweeted by the US president. However, others have made the same claim about the protesters.

On Dec 3, some English-language online media, as well as right-wing American radio host Rush Limbaugh, reported that French protesters were chanting for Mr Trump.

These reports were all based on a video posted on Twitter on December 2 by user @jackwhite, which was retweeted more than 17,000 times. In the video, a man wearing a Trump mask stands atop a bus, while a crowd of hundreds of protesters chant, "We want Trump."

However, the video was not shot during the "yellow vests" protests shaking Paris or in France at all. It was shot during a protest for the release of Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League, a British far-right organisation. - AFP

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