Over the past few months, upwards of fifty 5G towers have been set ablaze across Europe thanks to conspiracy theorists and their claims that 5G causes COVID-19. Now, Canadian police in Quebec are investigating whether a string of tower fires is linked to the 5G conspiracy theories, reported VICE.
Canadian officials tweeted about their disdain for the recent spate of arson-suspected tower fires in Quebec. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday issued a strongly worded message: “Vandalizing cell phone towers does nothing but threaten emergency services and impact the daily lives of Canadians across the country,” he wrote on Twitter. “These recent acts are serious criminal offenses and carry severe penalties.”
Quebec police announced yesterday they arrested a man and a woman in their twenties who they said are suspects in committing the $200,000 worth of damage to the sites.
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has debunked that 5G somehow spreads the coronavirus, some still believe the waves emanating from 5G towers cause humans to get sick, making us more prone to contracting the coronavirus. According to the WHO’s website, “5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19…Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.”
Regardless of the fact-checking, these beliefs have expanded worldwide via social media and online videos. Some celebrities and even doctors have endorsed the theories. What’s worse, is that “pandemics have a long history of leading to conspiracy theories,” according to Dr. Stephen Lewandowsky, the chair of cognitive psychology at the University of Bristol.
Lewandowsky told VICE that the consequences of these theories are damaging. “These conspiracy theories are not harmless entertainment. They have serious consequences,” said Lewandowsky. “When they get to the point where people burn down 5G cell towers, clearly that has a damaging side effect on society.”
According to telecoms Bell and Rogers, the four recent arsons in Canada affected 3G and 4G towers, not 5G. Many structures set on fire throughout Europe were also mistaken for 5G towers, reported VICE.
“While we are thankful no one has been hurt, it is very concerning that critical infrastructure needed to keep Canadians connected, including to emergency and 911 services, appears to have been deliberately targeted, putting lives at risk,” said a Rogers spokesperson.