Brussels (Brussels Morning) France’s President Emmanuel Macron has ordered a multi-agency inquiry into conspiracist movements currently active in the country, a move prompted by the emergence of the US-inspired QAnon movement, France24 reported.
According to Tristan Mendès, a French expert on conspiracy movements, cited in a report by Le Figaro, France currently has “a few hundred thousand” QAnon adherents. After the state agency responsible for tackling sectarian movements, MIVILUDES, received some 15 reports raising the alarm about the growth of QAnon in France, Minister for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa commissioned an inquiry by the agency and police.
Schiappa stated her concerns about the rise of “new conspiracist groups” on French soil, and said the government “has its eye on” QAnon. The commissioned report should be finished and delivered to the Ministry by the end of February.
Currently the website DéQodeurs serves as a major French gateway into the shadowy world of the QAnon conspiracy, a movement which posits that a secret, demon-worshipping cabal of paedophiles is running the world and abusing thousands of children behind the scenes, and contends that most prominent progressive and left-wing politicians are members of this cabal.
Albanian national Léonard Sojili, the main figure behind the DéQodeurs, is a social media figure known for promoting conspiracy theories, who features interviews with prominent French figures through his YouTube channel Thinkerview, which boasts some 773,000 subscribers.
Another boost for the conspiracy movement comes from the once-reputable France-Soir, which today functions as a populist website, uncritically sharing conspiracy theories. For most of last year, it was serving up a mix of coronavirus disinformation and fake news promoting QAnon.
Unlike in the US, where the movement spread mostly through right-wing, conservative groups, its anti-government scepticism makes it more palatable to a wider group of French citizens, since many are already wary about the coronavirus vaccine and have been radicalised against the establishment through the Yellow Vest movement.