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Blackout in Vatican, Roads blocked in Rome: Here’s what really happened

Vatican blackout
Image: Livestream screenshot

According to several reports on social media, the Vatican, a city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy is facing a blackout.

Initially, the news about Vatican blackout was reported after a livestream was spotted on a YouTube channel of Vatican News. The Vatican News is a verified YouTube channel that posts news and reports about the Pope and the holy city.

Officially, there is no confirmation of what has caused Vatican city to go into a blackout. Some reports on social media cite technical power outage while several users are quoting a conspiracy theory that says, “Vatican in black out after affidavit was leaked of the Italians involvement in US election Interference.”

However, Vatican city is not the only place that has been reported to hit by a blackout. Earlier today, the entire country of Pakistan including its biggest cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad faced complete darkness after the country’s Guddu power plant developed a fault. The fault caused the country’s high transmission lines to trip.

YouTube Livestream of Vatican blackout

Social media talks and reports

A user on Twitter wrote, “Hours long very unusual power outage in Pakistan’s large cities as well as in the Vatican in Rome Italy.”

One user tweeted, “So the entire country of Pakistan is in a power blackout. The Vatican is in a power blackout. I read – have not confirmed – that Pakistan was in league with Italy for election interference. If true – methinks something of a Military nature is underfoot.”

“Tonight there has been a blackout in the Vatican and another in Pakistan. Something weird is going on,” said another user on Twitter.

Reddit is also having a discussion about the blackout – here.

UPDATE 1

UPDATE 1:00 AM EST: After reports of Vatican blackout, Rome is now facing multiple roadblocks. Here is the footage (screen-recording of Apple Maps) showing road blockades in the capital of Italy.

UPDATE 2

UPDATE 1:20 AM EST: Lights are back on in the Vatican after a reported blackout.

Now there are some conflicting reports about the blackout, according to one report, all lights were on and stayed on all night, the blackout was witnessed because the live stream camera’s auto-exposure focused in on the lampposts and dimmed the recorded image.

UPDATE 3

UPDATE 11:55 AM EST: The Catholic Traveler, who is a resident of Vatican, has published a blog post on the recent Vatican blackout incident, here’s what happened according to The Catholic Traveler:

This morning I woke up to hundreds of messages from people asking me if I was okay because they heard there was a massive blackout at the Vatican.

First, thanks everyone for your concern.

Second, there was no massive blackout at the Vatican.

I received so many links to videos and articles about how a huge sting was underway. There was a gunfight. The Vatican was surrounded by military and police. And the pope was arrested and being held in an Italian prison waiting for the FBI to arrive.

Now, I love a good conspiracy as much as everyone. You might remember when I posted the video of smoke rising over the Vatican. That video was shown in newscasts all over the world. It was actually a fire at a nearby tire shop. I’m in Snopes now thanks to that one.

But a gunfight at the Vatican and the pope being held by the FBI.. what?

I looked out my window (I can see the Vatican from my apartment) lights were on. No gunfights. No police. Cars were coming and going as usual on an early winter Sunday morning.

The video many sent me was from the live-feed of the Vatican YouTube page.

As you can see, the camera exposure seems to be really low – something that happens to the live-feed often, by the way, when there is lightening and occasionally even during the rain. In any case, you can see the lights are very much on. You can see the dome, you can see the lights of the colonnade, you can see some office/apartment lights, you can see the nativity lights, you can see the Christmas tree star.

You’ll notice a vehicle enters the shot. Some have said this was an ambulance for the shootout. But, longtime Instagram followers will know this is actually my nemesis, the street sweeper.

I’ll also add that occasionally the lights do go out. I’ve seen the dome lights go out. I’ve seen the facade lights go out. I’ve see one colonnade lit and the other dark. I’ve been inside the basilica when the lights went out. These things happen. It’s not common, but it does happen. Never has it meant that the Pope was arrested or, the other thing people keep messaging me about, that the Pope had all the US election votes switched from Trump to Biden.

Vatican lights
Dome lights and left colonnade lights out a few years ago

Several conspiracy experts also sent me screenshots of roadblocks around Rome. To which I replied that we are still on lockdown. Not as severe as before, but we still have restrictions in place as to where we can and cannot travel. So, yes, roadblocks and police checks are ongoing. This is especially true on the weekends when we have even more restrictions than during the week.

And finally, these signs were not put in overnight to alert people of some disaster, they’ve been here for years and display opening times of the basilica, carry papal events for people to watch in the piazza, and currently tell people about a small nativity museums in the colonnade.

vatican signs digital boards message

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About the author

Polina Tikhonova

Polina Tikhonova

Polina Tikhonova from Kyiv, Ukraine is Insider Paper's Editor/ Author. Besides editing pieces, Polina covers articles with a focus on politics and technology, she writes breaking news, how-to guides, and general news pieces on Insider Paper. Polina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian, and Russian. - Email: insiderpaper@gmail.com




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