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The image doesn’t depict recent pandemic protests in Canberra, Australia. It was taken in England in 2019 and shows attendees of the annual Glastonbury Festival of music and arts.
The Canadian trucker protests have inspired others around the world, including people in Australia, to launch demonstrations against pandemic restrictions. But there is no evidence that the Canberra convoy protests have comprised over “1.5 million cars.”
Since late January, truckers have engulfed Canadian cities in protest of the government’s pandemic restrictions and vaccine mandates, snarling traffic and disrupting daily life and multiple trade routes. The situation recently led Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act — the first time the country’s government has taken such an action in 50 years.
The protest, called the "Freedom Convoy," has also inspired other demonstrations around the world. But it’s also inspired some on social media to misuse images of unrelated events and say they show the protests.
One aerial photo, which shows a massive crowd, was being shared on Facebook with the label that it represents a freedom convoy protest in Australia:
"Canberra, Australia. The freedom convoy is much bigger than expected. Over 1.5 million cars were counted at the rally," text above the photo reads.
The image 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.)
While the Canberra, Australia, convoy protests are real and have seen large numbers according to Australian law enforcement, this photo doesn’t depict any demonstrators.
A reverse-image search revealed that the photo wasn’t taken in Australia, or this year.
It was captured on June 26, 2019, at the Glastonbury Festival in England. The annual five-day event takes place at Worthy Farm between the small villages of Pilton and Pylle in Somerset. In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theater and other arts and sees an average of 200,000 attendees each year.
Despite the Facebook post’s claim of "1.5 million cars," Australian police have estimated that the largest "convoy to Canberra" rallies have attracted around 10,000 people so far.
The photo was taken in a different country in a different year, and the 1.5 million figure is implausible for either event. It’s way larger than the festival’s average and nearly four times the population of Canberra.
Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, Feb. 14, 2022
New York Times, Canada Live Updates: Ottawa Police Chief Resigns After Trudeau Declares National Emergency to End Protests, Accessed Feb. 15, 2022
Tin Eye, reverse image search, Feb. 15, 2022
Alamy.com, An aerial view of the Glastonbury Festival site at Worthy Farm in Somerset., Accessed Feb. 15, 2022
Washington Post, ‘Freedom Convoy’ in Canada inspires vaccine-mandate protests from France to New Zealand, Feb. 9, 2022
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