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- German police briefly detained a protester dressed like Santa Claus because they wouldn’t identify themselves at an illegal demonstration, according to authorities.
Humbug in Hamburg — or Stralsund, Germany, where some social media posts claim a Santa Claus was arrested by police at a Christmas market because he wasn’t wearing a face mask.
"Santa Claus arrested by German police for not wearing a mask," the title of one blog post says.
But that’s not quite right.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
There’s video of the incident, which happened at night and shows masked police officers talking to a man dressed as Santa Claus before frog-marching him away and then carrying him when he refuses to walk.
The Santa is wearing a sign that says 2G, which in Germany stands for genesen (recovered in the past six months) and geimpft (vaccinated), according to the BBC. It’s become shorthand for new policies in the country restricting where unvaccinated people can go in public.
On Dec. 14, state police in the region posted a statement online that the person arrested was protesting COVID-19 restrictions. The demonstration was unregistered — and illegal, according to police — and he was taken to a patrol car "to determine his identity" after he refused to give his name to police. He was then released, about an hour after police responded to the protest.
The statement doesn’t mention a mask.
We rate this claim False.
Blog post, Dec. 14, 2021
BBC, Covid: Germany puts major restrictions on unvaccinated, Dec. 2, 2021
Sozial Ticker, Christmas is unfortunately canceled - because Santa Claus has been arrested, visited Dec. 17, 2021
Euro Weekly, Update: Santa in Germany was NOT arrested for refusing to wear a mask, Dec. 17, 2021
Landespolizei Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, POL-HST: Unregistered meetings in the area of the Stralsund police station - handling of the internet video ´Santa Claus arrested,´ Dec. 14, 2021
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