‘Down With USA’ – Meme Purportedly Shows Anti-American Protesters In Michigan

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

The Facebook page National Liberty Federation posted a photo April 2 that it claims was taken in Michigan. The picture shows girls in hijabs with the phrase “Down with USA” written on their hands.


Verdict: False

This picture was taken in November 2013 during an anti-American rally in Tehran, Iran.

Fact Check:

“When Obama was president, he placed hoards of foreigners from Middle East countries into Michigan and Minnesota, thus the reason for Omar and Tlaib winning those states,” the meme continues.

Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are two of three Muslims currently serving in Congress. Omar represents Minnesota’s fifth congressional district and Tlaib represents Michigan’s 13th.

Social media users have shared the photo in the past, claiming it was taken in the U.S. But a quick Google search reveals that’s not the case.

On Nov. 4, 2013, it appeared in a USA Today picture gallery titled “Thousands stage anti-U.S. protest in Iran” and is attributed to Abedin Tahrkenareh, a photographer with the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA).

Tahrkenareh is based in Tehran, Iran, according to his EPA profile.

The photo can be found on the EPA’s website with a description that reads as follows: “Iranian female students show their hands with inscription reading ‘down with US’ during a demonstration marking the 34th anniversary of US Embassy takeover in front of the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran, 04 November 2013.”

The U.S. embassy in Tehran was seized by hundreds of Iranian student revolutionaries on Nov. 4, 1979, with more than 50 Americans taken hostage. The international crisis ended after 444 days.

News stories from 2013 confirm that there was a large anti-American rally in Iran that day to commemorate the anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover, as the photo caption describes. The rally reportedly included chants of “death to America” and the burning of the American flag.

Iran annually celebrates the capture of the embassy, as the U.S. and Iran continue to consider each other geopolitical adversaries.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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