Yet another cell tower was set on fire in Quebec, the latest in a long line of fires possibly linked to the bewildering conspiracy that blames Coronavirus on 5G technology.
Authorities were called to a cell tower off of Notre Dame street that was up in flames at 3:45 Monday morning, Montreal police spokesperson Julien Levesque told VICE. Levesque said firefighters were able to bring the fire under control and, afterwards, found accelerants on the scene.
Levesque said that there were no injuries but the fire caused “considerable damage” to the tower and Montreal Police’s arson squad is investigating. The CBC has reported that multiple telecommunications companies used the tower.
The fire comes after seven arsons targeting Quebec cell towers occurred in early May. Police arrested a model and failed rapper in connection to the crimes and charged them with arson and mischief.
Before the arrests Quebec Provincial Police told VICE they were looking into if a conspiracy, which connects 5G and the COVID-19 pandemic, was a driving factor in the crimes. When asked if Montreal police are looking into a similar motive, Levesque said it’s too early for that.
“Right now it’s too early to talk about motive, but we are investigating the fire,“ Levesque told VICE.
The telecommunications technology has long been the subject of conspiracies but things accelerated when the pandemic hit. While the conspiracy is fluid, the most popular telling of it says that 5G towers harm a person's immune system which leaves them to be more susceptible to getting the virus or causes virus-like symptoms. The conspiracy has been disproven time and time again from the likes of doctors to biologists to engineers. The World Health Organization’s “mythbusting” section they write “5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19.” None of this is stopping the conspiracies spread and it even has had some celebrities, like Woody Harrelson or musician M.I.A., back it.
In Europe, things have reached a fever point with over 70 fires in the U.K., and 16 in the Netherlands. "Fuck 5G" was scrawled at the site of one of the arsons in The Netherlands. The conspiracy isn't just linked to fires either. Philip Jansen, the CEO of British telecom company BT, said, in an April YouTube video, that “we have had our engineers being driven at by people who serve at the last minute and we’ve even had one engineer stabbed and put in the hospital.”
The conspiracy became so popular that it even forced several social media companies into action. Both Facebook and YouTube have made concerted efforts to pull down posts and videos pushing conspiracies about coronavirus and 5G.
Conspiracies are running wild during the pandemic. A recent study by the University of Oxford found in the U.K., where this conspiracy is prevalent, one in five adults think the pandemic is a hoax. Dr. Stephen Lewandowsky, the chair of cognitive psychology at the University of Bristol, told VICE previously that it’s understandable that people would reach for conspiracies during a pandemic.
“It’s a frightening situation,” said Lewandowsky. “People feel that they’ve lost control and the moment that happens some people turn to conspiracy theories. It provides psychological comfort to think that there’s this cabal of bad people out there who are responsible for this.”
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