Photo Story A Europe of conspiracy theories | Images
“White Masks" rally against mask-wearing and Covid-related restrictions. Lyon, France, 15 May 2021 (Nicolas Liponne).

A wade through the swamp of Europe’s conspiracy culture

White Masks, antivax, covidosceptics, anti-5G… Europe’s conspiracy-seekers took to the streets several times during the recent lockdowns in France and Belgium. Photographers Nicolas Liponne and Nicolas Landemard followed them.

Published on 15 July 2021 at 09:19
“White Masks" rally against mask-wearing and Covid-related restrictions. Lyon, France, 15 May 2021 (Nicolas Liponne).

Almost everyone seems to be represented: anti-vaccine activists, QAnon, right-wing populists, believers in a global "Deep State", herbal-medicine advocates, as well as business leaders and the unemployed. What they have in common is a scepticism about the official discourse on the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a certain porosity with far-right groupings.


Conspiracy theories and disinformation
  1. Right in the heart of Europe, a secret and influential disinformation network does Delhi’s dirty work
  2. A very Italian salsa of populism and conspiracy theories
  3. QAnon comes to Europe
  4. A wade through the swamp of Europe’s conspiracy culture
  5. How George Soros was transformed from herald of democracy into Hungary’s “enemy of the people”
  6. Andreas Önnerfors: ‘Conspiracy theories are the staple diet of populism in Europe’

In the background, explanatory ingredients can be discerned: a weakening of the socio-economic fabric, digital platforms that are quick to spread contestatory ideas, and upcoming elections. Conspirationists are a heterogeneous group whose rising power – with its potential for violence – worries Europe’s intelligence services. Their theories have gone viral and become the focus for incipient communities. The fear is that they will also destabilize democracy across Europe.

Under the direction of Constance Decorde.

Hover on a photo to launch the gallery:

Receive the best of European journalism straight to your inbox every Thursday

In collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation – Paris


Was this article useful? If so we are delighted! It is freely available because we believe that the right to free and independent information is essential for democracy. But this right is not guaranteed forever, and independence comes at a cost. We need your support in order to continue publishing independent, multilingual news for all Europeans. Discover our membership offers and their exclusive benefits and become a member of our community now!

Are you a news organisation, a business, an association or a foundation? Check out our bespoke editorial and translation services.

Support independent European journalism

European democracy needs independent media. Join our community!

On the same topic