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Loreben Tuquero
By Loreben Tuquero October 20, 2023

Car that disrupted traffic in New York waved Puerto Rican flag, not Palestinian flag

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  • The car was waving a Puerto Rican flag, not a Palestinian flag.

Social media users have warned that the Israel-Hamas war is leading to havoc, even on U.S. freeways.  

One Oct. 12 Instagram video described what looks like a silver car doing "doughnut" maneuvers and emitting smoke on the Long Island Expressway, disrupting the flow of traffic. (To do automotive doughnuts, drivers maneuver in tight circles, leaving circular skid marks.)

The caption read, "Right here, in New York, on the LIE. A car carrying men waving the Palestinian flag abruptly and dangerously stopping traffic to run ‘donuts’ causing a commotion and fear, distracting drivers and endangering lives!"

A similar video also gained thousands of views on TikTok. It claimed that the New York Police Department called in its police force expecting massive protests, after "protesters shut down the freeway in NYC."

The video shows road signs for Throgs Neck Bridge, Long Island, and Exit 11 for Randall Avenue.

(Screenshot from Instagram)

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The text in the video was inaccurate.

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The Instagram video featured the username "mjhealthandhome," but that account is unavailable. 

A keyword search on X led to a video of the incident from another angle, posted Oct. 11 by WCBS-TV reporter Tim McNicholas, His video shows a clearer picture of what was being waved — the flag of Puerto Rico. ​

(Screenshot from Tim McNicholas’ X post)

The Palestinian flag has black, white, and green stripes and a red triangle, while the Puerto Rican flag has five alternating red and white stripes, a blue triangle and a white star.

McNicholas made another X post, saying, "I have been informed people are sharing this saying this happened on the Long Island Expressway and that’s a Palestinian flag they’re waving. It’s not the LIE, and it’s not a Palestinian flag." He attached a screenshot of the flag being waved in the car.

We geolocated the site of the incident to the Cross Bronx Expressway

The video doesn’t show a car carrying men waving the Palestinian flag "dangerously" stopping traffic to run doughnuts in New York. We rate that claim False.

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Car that disrupted traffic in New York waved Puerto Rican flag, not Palestinian flag

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